Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Today, my dad celebrates his 66th birthday.  I'm sure that he will spend it being harassed by various friends and family calling to razz him about his age, enjoying a good burger and cocktail, and getting a special birthday wish from his favorite (ok, FINE - only) granddaughter.

Except (and if you are familiar with this blog, you already knew this) none of this is true.

My absolute favorite snap of my dad
October, as you probably know, is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but I will never think of it as anything but the month that my dad both entered and left this world.  He died 15 days shy of his 52nd birthday, on October 1, 1999, from complications stemming from his five year battle with colon cancer.

There is not a day that goes by that my heart doesn't continue to ache, and days like today are still, 14 years later, often difficult to bear.  While nothing I will ever do can bring my dad back, I continue to do my best to prevent other fathers from being diagnosed with colon cancer in order that other daughters don't have to tell this same story.

For the fourth year, then, I am participating in the Colon Cancer Alliance's annual Undy 5000 next month in downtown Phoenix. Our race (5K and 1-mile fun run) is the last of the series each year, and each year since I have become a part of the local CCA chapter, I have been overwhelmed with the number of people under the age of 50 who have been diagnosed.  Many have beaten the disease, but we have also lost wonderful people like Arijit, the force behind Poop Strong (I was fortunate enough to be a part of Arijit's team last fall before he lost his battle this March).

The money raised by the Undy 5000 goes directly to local colon cancer treatment.  Those in the Phoenix area who are battling colon cancer can find assistance, both for payment of treatments not covered by insurance (although with the advent of the Affordable Care Act, fewer people WILL be turned away from getting the treatment they need, regardless of their stage of cancer or their status of having a "pre-existing condition") and for other necessities like counseling for patients and family members.  Cancer affects all family members, and the CCA is there to step in and be a support system for patient AND family.

I'm so proud that my daughter, who is nearly 5, has asked to be in this year's race with me, so she and Husband will be running (yes, running) the 1-mile fun run while I take on the 5K again.  I'm hoping to coordinate our finishes so that I can cross the finish line with her.

If you are so inclined, please consider making a donation to this incredible cause.  Colon cancer doesn't discriminate, but when appropriate measures are set into place, it is nearly 100% preventable and beatable.  You can check out my personal page here.  And please check back after November 16 for a full recap of race day.  This was my first race I ever ran four years ago, and its significance continues to overwhelm me.  This race is not about time for me, unless we count the time that I hope my efforts will add to someone else's life.

Happy birthday, Dad.  I love you.


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  2. Sweet post, A. It's incredible to me that your whole family is putting in the effort to honor him and raise money for others with colon cancer. Happy belated birthday to your dad. He sounds like a wonderful guy.