My grandfather beat colon cancer when I was two years old. I do not remember his battle or treatment, but I know his story. When he was first diagnosed with cancer, his oncologist in Dallas wanted to immediately operate and cut out the cancer. My grandfather was hesitant, and went to get a second opinion at M.D. Anderson in Houston. His oncologist in Houston first recommended radiation to shrink the tumor before they operated to remove it. My family found out afterwards that if he had surgery before the radiation treatment, the cancer probably would have come back more aggressively. I am so fortunate that my grandfather was in remission for 23 years and he was able to be such an important part of my childhood the most formative years of my life.
As many of you know, my grandfather passed away a little less than a month ago, on February 28th, 2018. He was diagnosed this past Christmas with bladder cancer that had metastasized and spread to his lungs. He was given three to six months to live. It took him in two.
I miss him every day, and I am so grateful for the doctors at M.D. Anderson that gave him 23 more years of life. 23 years so that I could know him personally and he could continue to spread his generosity, good nature, and wisdom to everyone around him.
I had already made up my mind at the beginning of 2018 that this was the year I wanted to run a marathon and began training in January. I chose the Pittsburgh Marathon because this is a marathon both my parents have run, the city where my father grew up, and the city where my aunt, uncle, cousins, and paternal grandmother live. I was thrilled when I found out that I could fundraise as my registration for the marathon and knew I wanted it to benefit cancer research through the American Cancer Society.
I’m running so that there are more experiences like my grandfather had at M.D. Anderson. I’m running for more birthdays. I’m running so that one day, cancer will be a disease of the past.
I love you always, Grandaddy. This one’s for you.
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