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Ice cream for breakfast: Children's cancer campaign started in MN goes global

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As long-term diets go, it's not the healthiest.

But as a once-a-year indulgence to honor a Minnesota girl who lost her life to cancer, "International Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day" is a seemingly perfect way to warm hearts across the globe.

Annette Peterson, of Forest Lake, started the awareness raising campaign in 2013 in honor of her daughter Malia, who was just 9-years-old when she died in December 2010 following a 14-month battle with kidney cancer.

It had modest beginnings, with 50 close friends of the Petersons and family joining in by having a morning ice cream, according to the movement's website.

But last year, they attempted to encourage it to become a national holiday, one dedicated to all children with cancer. It caught on, with more than 1,600 people from 12 different nations joining in and sending messages of support to the Petersons.

The third "Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day," scheduled for Feb. 18, is set to be even bigger, with people in 83 countries so far having pledged to join in, according to the event's website.

Those taking part this Wednesday are being encouraged to take a picture of themselves eating ice cream and uploading it to Facebook with the hashtags #icecreamforbreakfast or #kidsgetcancertoo.

Annette Peterson told the Forest Lake Times that she even heard of one group in New Zealand which is renting a venue and holding a fundraiser to mark the event.

"We were blown away by the response [last year], but it only served to encourage us more," Peterson told the newspaper. "We started receiving thank you’s from all over the world. People were going on about how much they appreciated the support for and the recognition of their children."

This year, the appeal is honoring Malia and eight other children who are either "resting," having died from cancer, "fighting" to beat the disease, or "celebrating" their victory over it.

A list of the featured children can be found here.

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