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~ May 19-21, 2023 ~ 

2023.05.19 LLAU Virtual 5K Logo.png

Every May we ask people to join us to help bring awareness to Brain Tumor Awareness Month. Together we run, walk, and bike to help honor and remember so many children that have bravely fought brain or spinal cord cancer. We have shared the stories of Liv, Kendall, and Meg, holding them in our hearts each step of the way. This year we are honoring not one, but two special little girls. Both named Olivia, both lovers of princesses and tea parties, both going through experiences no young child should ever have to face.

In 2023 we invite you to #LivelikeLiv while we #runlikeaunicorn towards a better future for children with pediatric cancer. 

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Sponsorship Opportunities

Platinum Package 
  • Logo our 5K shirt
  • Opening Ceremonies Mention
  • Sponsorship Certificate
  • Social Media Recognition
  • Name on our website
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Gold Package 
  • Opening Ceremonies Mention
  • Sponsorship Certificate
  • Social Media Recognition
  • Name on our website
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Silver Package
  • Sponsorship Certificate
  • Social Media Recognition
  • Name on our website
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Bronze Package 
  • Name on our website

Thanks to our sponsors!

Feigus Office Furniture  •  Ranchers Best Wholesale Meats
Wildfire Technology Integration  •  Movement Mortgage
Freedom Electric & Data, Inc.  •  ACE Wire & Cable Co., Inc.
Midtown Electric Supply Corp  •  Belmar Plumbing  •  Fireside America
CentraState Healthcare Foundation  •  Jersey Freeze
Healthy Pediatrics • Gold Standard Bathrooms

Meet Liv...and Liv.


Hi! My name is Katie, and my husband’s name is Mark. We have two children: a 5 year old son, Matthew, and a 2 year old daughter, Olivia. We live in Ocean County, New Jersey and my husband and I both grew up here. We love doing weekend adventures together and movie nights at home. We considered ourselves a normal family; whatever "normal" means at least. At the end of 2021, our lives were forever changed. Our daughter, Liv, was diagnosed with Stage 3, type IV, yolk sac sacrococcygeal teratoma at 17 months old.
When Liv was around 15 months old, we noticed some bruising on her back and took her to the pediatricians and they said she’s an active toddler trying to keep up with her brother. They weren’t concerned. But a few weeks later, Liv, was having trouble voiding and constipation issues. We took her to Jersey Shore Medical Center. It was there that she was throwing the doctors for a loop, over Christmas weekend, when she stopped voiding altogether and could no longer walk. They ordered an MRI and what should have been about an hour turned into almost 4. We knew something wasn’t right and when we got back into our room, they told us she had a mass that was appearing cancerous near her spine. The oncologist had already left, but would be in touch with us the following day. I’m not sure what happened overnight, but the next morning, the oncologist called and said CHOP needed to handle this and we were transferred there that night.
The next few days there were some of the hardest days we had to experience, there’s no guidebook or preparation you can do to help navigate those first few weeks of a cancer diagnosis. While they normally would have liked to resect the tumor, Liv’s was too big at this point and was intertwining in between the spine. She started with chemo to help attack and shrink the teratoma. Her chemo cycles were 21 days, the first five days she received chemotherapy consisting of 4 different drugs. The next two weeks afterwards were for count checking and transfusions she needed. In April of 2022 she had her resection surgery and removal of coccyx to lessen the chance of reoccurrence. In August her doctor officially said she has no evidence of disease. During those 8-9 months, her bladder and bowels recovered to the point, where she doesn’t need to be catheterized daily or given suppositories/enemas as much.  During her year of physical therapy, she regained her ability to walk again while building her tone. Now she can complete the exercises at home. She has weakened nerves where the teratoma sat on, that require follow ups with other specialists, in addition to her monthly bloodwork and quarterly MRI’s to monitor.
That’s the thing with pediatric cancer, just because chemo is done, or their hair has grown back, or they look good, doesn’t mean the battles over. These children face secondary issues that they are battling and having to go through. Recovery lasts long after treatment. A childhood cancer diagnosis effects the whole family, even the siblings, their world gets turned upside down too. There are many challenges a family goes through once being diagnosed. It’s more then just medical bills that pile up, it’s the parking fees, gas, food at the hospital that add up fast. This is why we are so personally grateful for, Liv Like A Unicorn, they stand right next to you, fighting the fight with you. They give support to their families, financially and emotionally, while making donations to the hospital research teams to find a cure for these children because, childhood cancer isn’t rare, it’s just not fair.

Katie & Mark Sotak

Olivia's Parents

On December 3, 2021,  we took our 2.5 year old daughter, Olivia, to PM Pediatrics (an urgent care facility) as she had randomly thrown up 4 times in seven days. Our pediatrician had said it was a stomach bug, but that didn’t make sense, as we had no symptoms. She appeared to be more tired, off-balance, and nauseous, and when the medical staff exhausted all their options, we were sent to a nearby hospital to get a CT scan.

That night, a resident came to explain to us that Olivia had a large mass in her brain and needed immediate surgery. We quickly decided to go to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Over the next few days, Olivia would undergo two brain surgeries. The results showed that she had a medulloblastoma in her brain, spinal fluid, and spine. The world stops when the word "cancer" is heard with your daughter’s name in the same sentence and for us, it meant living in the hospital for almost 8 months, in another state, during the pandemic when no visitors were permitted to visit. Without God, we wouldn’t be standing.

Everyday we committed to make Olivia smile and make memories the best we could. They tell you to live “one day at a time” and for us, we made it our mission to “Live like Liv!” Our Olivia battled with joy. She underwent a total of four brain surgeries, six rounds of chemotherapy, and three stem cell transplants at CHOP. We lived at "Club CHOP" (what we called it) for most of December through July, and Olivia rarely didn’t smile or find joy in each day, despite spending Christmas on the oncology floor and New Years in the Pediatric ICU. She lost her ability to talk, walk, and see from one eye, but thankfully all of those things came back with lots of hard work from our girl! We would create scavenger hunts, hold tea parties, celebrate her stuffed animals birthdays with play doh cakes, dance during bath time, play hide-and-seek in the halls, and have water gun fights in our room.  

Liv Like A Unicorn was the first organization we reached out to for assistance. I was laid off from my job in education, and my husband had to shut down his business after we learned of Olivia's diagnosis, yet we still had to pay for health insurance out of our own pockets. Emma and the team at Liv Like A Unicorn provided us with financial assistance, which allowed us to survive while adjusting to living in the hospital and losing income for our family. We were amazed to learn that Emma was from New Jersey and had been inspired by what her daughter, also named Olivia, had started. 


Olivia rang the bell for her treatment ending in July of 2022. Her scans are still not clear, but we are not giving up hope we were recently told that she has no active disease. When her health allows, we plan to visit a number of places, such as zoos, public pools, and beaches. 


Being home and adjusting to out-patient living has been challenging but we feel blessed to have her home with us and will forever have a new appreciation about life. Currently, Olivia has been making great strides in PT and OT and continues to teach us how to live, with her wholehearted appreciation for life, and her sassy humor and creative imagination.  


Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for selflessly praying for us. We are honored to be asked to partner with Liv Like A Unicorn for their upcoming Virtual 5K!

Johanna & Peter Ross

Olivia's Parents

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