Changed by My Cancer-Free Nephew

Almost There!

Almost There!

In less than two weeks, Christina and I will be running a half marathon.  On April 25 at 7:00am, we’ll leave from the starting line of the Music City Marathon in Nashville.  We are getting excited and geared up.

Of course, running in a half-marathon (or running at all) has never been a goal of mine.  My argument has always been that I could not stand to do the same thing for over 30 minutes.  I would rather play basketball, or walk 18 holes of golf, or just sit and watch television.  I didn’t have much choice but to participate in this marathon business, though.  Christina told me that we were going to run in it.  I would have fought it and told her why it was a dumb idea, but I couldn’t.  This brings me to the real reason that we are running.

Our nephew, Colin Sanders, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma when he was 14 months old.  Colin’s parents, Brett and Mindy, chose early to fight as hard as they could for Colin.  Soon after the diagnosis, Colin underwent surgery to remove the tumor that was in his abdomen.  Then, Colin suffered through a year and a half of excruciating and dangerous chemotherapy, including a stem cell therapy that wiped out his immune system.

We are thankful to God and to doctors and researchers that Colin is cancer free today!  The fear of recurrence is always present with neuroblastoma.  However, Colin has had clear scans since finishing chemo, and today he is an active two and a half year old boy who runs and plays and wrestles as much as possible.

In the past year and a half, Brett and Mindy have received incredible support from many in the community of Chattanooga, Tenn., where they live.  Some of those in the support group are parents who have experienced neuroblastoma first hand, including parents whose children were taken by the disease.  We will be running for Colin, for Brett and Mindy, and for all of the children and parents who have and are battling neuroblastoma.

I have been a bit quiet about the training.  I haven’t blogged about it or facebooked about it or tweeted the training because I didn’t believe that I would make it.  It seemed that I would hang in for the early stages and bow out as the distances increased and the race neared.  But there is something about knowing that you are hitting the pavement for a purpose.  On my toughest runs, I haven’t endured the pain of my nephew.  The inconvenience of adding training to my daily routine pales in comparison to the way that Brett and Mindy’s lives have changed.  The cost of the few running gear items that I’ve bought (shoes, nutrients, and water-wicking shirts) is not even close to 1% of the cost of Colin’s treatments.

This Saturday, Christina and I will run 10 miles.  We wish that we could make a grander contribution to cure neuroblastoma, but as a student with four children, our primary participation has been emotional support.  In a very small way, our 10 miles this weekend continues that contribution.

Take a look at this video.  It tells Colin’s story.  I encourage you to contribute to Emily’s Power for a Cure, one of the primary support groups for Brett and Mindy.  They do incredible things for research and for families struggling with the disease.  To donate, visit this site and enter Mindy Sanders in the fields “Find a fundraiser to support.” The group has not raised its goal yet.  However, you can help them, and in the process you will make a difference for a child and family.

Now, it’s about time for my holy discipline.

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