It's been 10 years since I was diagnosed with Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma... cancer. I started this blog to share the many emotions, fears, experiences and, hopefully, triumphs that I will face throughout this journey. I have two goals for this blog, 1. To gain some degree of personal therapeutic benefit and, 2. To help others who may one day face a similar struggle by detailing the process of diagnosis, treatment and recovery so that they may know what to expect.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Kailee's Run

May 18, 2008 - There is a little girl in our neighborhood who is fighting cancer. Kailee is 6 years old, the same age as my son, and she has a rare form of cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma which in her case cannot be treated with surgery because of its location in her head and neck. Here is a picture of Kailee:

She is a beautiful little girl. After learning of Kailee, I read her full story on her website which you can find HERE. I found myself particularly drawn to her situation because her tumor is located in the head and neck region as are the majority of Rhabdomyosarcoma cases. She underwent 5 weeks radiation treatment in much the same fashion that I did, bolted to a table with a tight, constrictive mask. I know how uncomfortable and unnerving it was for me, a grown man. I can't even begin to imagine how horrific this must have been for this little girl.

To help raise awareness of Kailee's condition as well as funds for her ongoing treatment, the first annual Kailee's Run was held last weekend, a 5K race through our neighborhood. The response was truly overwhelming. And although I have never been a runner (I really don't like it at all), Michelle and I decided to give it a shot and even enlisted a number of our friends to join us. I am proud to report that not only did I run the entire 3.1 miles, I didn't even finish last! In fact, I finished it in about 30 minutes which, all things considered, is pretty respectable if you ask me! Don't believe me? Here's PROOF! Scroll down to number 119 and there I am. They're having a second race to benefit Kailee soon, a 5 miler, which I'm not sure I'm up for but I'm going to give it a shot.

Before the race, I had a chance to meet Kailee and her mom. I wanted to let her know that she and I had something in common and show them both that life doesn't end with cancer. I wanted them to see that even someone like me, barely 18 months removed from my own Stage IV cancer treatment, can train for and run a competitive race.

In the fall, Kailee will go back to school and get back to being a kid again. Like any of us who have been diagnosed with cancer, I'm sure her long term prognosis is in doubt and that's truly a shame. But at the same time, I'm happy for Kailee. She still gets to see the world through kids eyes which is such a tremendous blessing for her. She'll probably never have to truly rationalize the seriousness of her condition except maybe in hindsight someday when she's moved well beyond this point in her life.

I would encourage anyone who reads this to please spend a few minutes on Kailee's website and if you're so inclined, sign up for her next race or maybe donate a few dollars to her cause.

Thank you.


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