If you’re a parent, you’ve been woken up in the middle of the night to tend to a sick child. Maybe it was the flu, or a fever or a stomach ache. It may have even been so bad that you bundled them up and rushed them to the ER in the middle of the night. We’ve all been there, feeling helpless while the doctor’s deliberate and joyful when they come back and say “it’s just the flu.” Nothing but another slight detour on the road of parenthood.
So you can imagine the despair when my friend Nicole O’Connor brought her 4 year old son, Kyle, into the emergency room 2 years ago and the doctor, instead of kindly smiling while pronouncing another case of stomach flu, looked directly into her eyes and said: “Your son has Cancer”.
That night the O’Connor’s lives changed forever.
If you knew me before this blog was established, you may remember that I ran my first 26.2, The National Marathon, now known as Rock & Roll DC, for Kyle. That was nearly 2 years ago and since then so much has changed in my life: more marathons, qualifying for Boston, and a move across the country. But for Kyle things have not changed. He is still battling this ugly disease. He is still fighting Cancer and not a day or run goes by that I am not inspired by the strength and courage of this young man. At only 6 years old he has to deal with pills, daily pain, sleeplessness, hair loss… The drugs he takes are so strong that you and I would need gloves and a mask to administer them — and this is something he has to take! That’s right, poison strong enough that it would scar our skin, and he just swallows it up into his tiny body.
Then, there is Baily, Kyle’s twin sister, who’s life has also been impacted by this terrible illness. Her 6 year old mind has to deal with a brother who is sick, not with a little “c” cold but a big “C” Cancer. She does so with the grace and courage of an adult, even though I can’t imagine how she would process such a big thing with only 6 years under her belt. Yet, she does it day after day.
Imagine, just for a moment, that your child has Cancer. How painful it must be to watch your baby go through such a horrid thing, how stressful. Think about how, despite this, you would somehow hold everything together for your family, bringing every ferocious protective-mother instinct to bear. This is what it’s like for my friend Nicole. Every day she wakes up, gathers her strength, and intrepidly goes into battle with Kyle. She never complains, very rarely breaks down, and most days she is making everyone around her laugh and smile. To make matter worse, she has recently gone through a divorce from the twins’ father. I can’t fathom the stresses she is under. She asks no one for a thing, in fact she gives so much to the people around her despite what she faces everyday. Recently, she has fallen deeper into despair, emotionally and financially. As her friend, I can not sit by and watch her suffer, I must help and I am asking for your help as well. What has happened to the O’Connor family could happen to any one us… Together, we can give Nicole some hope. Something to free her mind of despair, if only for a moment.
Just as I did for the National marathon, I am going to run again for Kyle, Baily and Nicole. This time, though, I want you all to run with me. How will we do this? I am going to host a virtual race on the O’Connor’s behalf.
If you’re not sure what a virtual race is, let me explain. You sign up for the race and you can run it anywhere and anytime during the designated dates. Next, you enter your race time on a spread sheet and, at the end of the race, prize recipients will be selected via Random.org with many incredible prizes to be given away. The full details on the race, the sponsors, and the prizes are posted HERE.
The race will held between February 1 and February 16, 2013. You can run or walk a 5K, 10K, half marathon or all three. Each race will cost $10 and all of your entry fee will go to Kyle’s Krusade via The Talbert Family Foundation.
The Talbert Family Foundation is a non-profit organization that is providing Nicole and her family with financial assistance for the endless medical bills that come when the insurance runs out, but it is not enough. On top of everything she is going through, she is faced with huge financial responsibilities that she can not cover alone. The Talbert Family Foundation started the Kyle’s Krusade fund to help with the many expenses of Kyle’s treatment. They accept donations and 100% of the money they receive goes directly to helping the O’Connors — the foundation takes nothing. I think that’s amazing and so generous.
If you’re not up for the race, but still want to help the O’Connor family, you can make a direct donation to Kyle’s Krusade HERE, knowing that 100% of your generosity will go to help this brave family.