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Jim & Linda Clark
I’ve done tough things before. Probably nothing was as tough as watching my dad die from lung cancer though. 14 months of watching, waiting. You know it will happen but you don’t know what it will look like, feel like, or how it will all play out. At least I didn’t anyway.
It came towards the end, and it slipped right past me for a moment; the realization that he wasn’t really here anymore. In my mind, I can still see the day when it finally dawned on me. I had just returned from the Grand Canyon and wanted to tell him all about it, and I did. But he wasn’t excited like I thought he would be. Yeah, he smiled and nodded, but you could tell that he no longer understood. Either chemo or the cancer had taken away his ability to follow along with my story. In a sense he was there, but already gone. Maybe this wasn’t the first time it happened, but it was the first time that I accepted it. And then I had to accept it over and over again until he passed.
I ran the Marine Corps Marathon that October, just a few weeks later. I knew he was too sick to come, but every time the course took a turn, I’d tell myself that he’d be there waiting, cheering me on. 26 miles of running and looking and he never was, and again I had to accept it.
I’ve always wished that he had seen me run in at least one event. This is part of the reason I return to run the Race for Breath each year. I just keep telling myself that this time he’s there, he’s watching. He’s cheering all of us on. And not only that, but I get to watch my kids run. Jogging three miles alongside of them on the anniversary of my dad’s death is more comforting to me than you’d ever know. This event means a lot to my family, and it means a lot to the charity it supports.
If you don’t mind, please consider supporting our team with a few dollars. I’m not asking for much, just whatever you can spare. The money goes to Free to Breathe, a non-profit working to ensure that surviving lung cancer is the expectation, not the exception. If you can’t spare a donation, consider sharing my story on Facebook or with a friend. I sure would appreciate it.
About my non-profit:
Free to Breathe is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization dedicated to doubling lung cancer survival by 2022. We will accomplish this by:
• Funding research with the greatest potential to save lives
• Helping all patients fully understand their treatment options
• Ensuring molecular tumor testing is standard of care
• Doubling the number of lung cancer patients on clinical trials
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