Help Support the Tri-Cities Cancer Center Foundation!
The Tri-Cities Cancer Center Foundation’s annual Run For Ribbons is a fun 1 mile walk or 5k and 10k run. The event is a fun way to honor or remember a loved one who has battled or is battling cancer. The Run For Ribbons helps raise awareness and much needed funds for no-cost services provided to local cancer patients and their families.
So many of us have been touched by cancer - I'd like to share my story with you. I still remember the exact moment when I learned that my dad had cancer - Jan. 9, 2007. It was both a devastating and pivotal moment in my life. Advanced Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma...aka...Stage 4 Kidney Cancer that had spread to his lungs. His diagnosis brought a lot of pain and tears, but also more strength, love and hope than we could have imagined. I went to all of his appointments with him and fought tirelessly to get him financial help to be able to afford the only medication (at the time) that would help him extend his life. I researched the disease and options, looked into clinical research, peppered doctors and nurses with questions and tried not to think about the reality of what was happening.
Dad was diagnosed 9 days after retiring, so gone were the excellent benefits he had while working for the County. Instead we had to deal with Medicare and learn all about allowable medications, donut holes and more. It took more than three months to get a grant from an organization to pay for his first month of medication (which was more than $3,000). I'd never done anything like that before and can remember getting so frustrated with the process. Today, there are people at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center who can assist patients and their families with such things - all because of donations to the Foundation.
My dad was diagnosed as terminal on Christmas night in 2007. The last couple months were the hardest - seeing him in pain, his confusion (the cancer had spread to his brain) and taking rotating shifts to help care for him at home, were all incredibly difficult. There were many more tears, but also some laughter. He would wake up in the middle of the night insisting we needed to eat cereal (or chocolate donuts) and watch a movie...not understanding that I needed to work the next morning. I remember waking up with a start once when he turned on Grease 2 at full volume at 3am while I slept nearby...I can laugh about that one now. I also remember how one Saturday afternoon I had fallen asleep on the couch while he dozed in the chair. I woke up to him struggling get up and then to cover me up with a blanket. He had so much trouble getting up and walking at that point, but he wanted to make sure his little girl was warm. I had spent the last couple of months taking care of him but he was still my dad and wanted to take care of me. I pretended to stay asleep and still tear up when I think about that moment.
On March 2, 2008, my daddy lost his battle with cancer. I'll forever miss him, but I always try to find the good in things. The good in his cancer was that I was able to connect with the Tri-Cities Cancer Center. I can tell you that money donated to the Tri-Cities Cancer Center Foundation DOES make a huge difference. Today, there is someone to help patients and their families navigate a cancer diagnosis - someone to help find that financial assistance, coordinate care so much more. They offer screenings, wigs, palliative care...I could go on and on about the incredible resources the Cancer Center offers.
So on May 6th, I will run for my dad. I will run for my other family members and friends who have battled cancer. I will run to make sure that the resources at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center continue to be available and to expand. I will run and dream of a day that the word "cancer" no longer pisses me off. What will you run for?
Please join me in supporting the Cancer Center Foundation by making a donation. My personal goal is to raise $500 this year - every donation helps (our team goal is $2,500). If you have someone you'd like to honor or remember, please tell me their name and the type of cancer they had and I will run for them as well.
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