My motivation? My inspiration? A 66 year old man who battled for 14 months with Pancreatic Cancer. That man was my Daddy. He was diagnosed in April of 2012, after several months of doctor visits and tests that didn't find the cancer. That's how Pancreatic Cancer works. There will be signs, like the ones my Daddy had...weight loss, pain in the abdomen that radiates to the back, & fatigue. He was diagnosed as a diabetic. Research has shown that the recent onset of diabetes in people over 50 or a sudden change in blood sugar control in those who are already diabetic may be a symptom of pancreatic cancer. Surely enough, a trip to the emergency room one evening, and a sister, who being a nurse, saw the red flags and requested they test our Daddy for Pancreatic Cancer.
I had to find my own personal way of dealing with my Daddy's diagnosis. I had never heard of Pancreatic Cancer, so I began to do my research. I didn't like the statistics, so I won't tell you from statistics, I'll tell you from my Daddy's story, this cancer wreaks havoc on the human body. I decided that if my 66 year old Daddy's body could take the most aggressive chemotherapy treatment available to him, that I could push my body to raise money for research and early diagnosis. I trained for 9 weeks to become a runner. I trained with a running buddy who has become a close friend. We drove 80 miles round trip two evenings a week to train with a running club. I was NOT a runner. Running was just not a sport I could do, I have asthma, (Yea, that was my excuse) but I did it. WE did it. And we did it in 100 degree temps on alot of those evenings!
My Daddy battled cancer for 14 months, he and my Mother left for MD Anderson in Houston, Texas on May 9th, Mother's Day weekend. Although chemotherapy and radiation treatments were no longer working for him, he was offered an opportunity to participate in clinical trials. Clinical trials are studies in which people volunteer to take part in new drugs and procedures. Doctors use clinical trials to develop new treatments for the cancer. So while the chances were that the trials may or may not help him, he would surely be helping the clinical trials team in their search for the next big treatment drug for Pancreatic Cancer.
Pancreatic Cancer took the life of my Daddy, W.T. Bates, on June 22, 2013 at 1:58 a.m. God designed exactly the way he wanted it to be, we were blessed to be with my Daddy in Texas for the last two weeks of his life. It was two weeks that in the midst of the heartache and heartbreak, my family, my Mother, my brother, and my sister got to spend precious time with this courageous man.
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness ..." (2 Thes 4:7, 8)
So...that BIG goal? It's not that big when I look at what my Daddy did for the last 14 months. I'm not totally out of my mind, I haven't bitten off more than I can chew, and yes, I totally decided to do a half marathon based on emotion. That emotion is LOVE. One of the last conversations I had with my Daddy was about my running and raising money for Pancreatic Cancer. He told me how proud he was of me for the work I was doing, and that he wanted me to continue to do so to help others. I am week 1 into my training of 12 weeks. I got this. God is good. It won't be easy, but every step I run now has a purpose.