“Your son has Cancer” … the story of Kyle O’Connor


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.

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  1. says

    This breaks my heart. Cancer tears lives apart and I hate it. My husband is most likely taking some of those same drugs. I hate when they get all masked up to administer the chemo. I be more than happy to connect with Nicole. Cancer is a lonely place to be but we are not alone. Praying for Kyle to keep fighting and win. I will run for Kyle!

    • Lisa says

      Harmony, Thank you so much for your kind words. I am so sorry that your husband has to endure similar treatment and fight this horrible disease. For Nicole, In those moments when all seems dark, reading some of these comments and seeing how many people support her and Kyle can help with those feelings of hopelessness. Thank you so much, I appreciate you taking the time to comment and for supporting the Virtual run. xoxo

    • Lisa says

      LU LU Angela! thank you for always being here, commenting, sharing and supporting all of the moments that mean anything to me. You’re amazing! So grateful to have my few very special #BlogSisters

  2. says

    Totally and completely sucks. I just hate cancer and hate that any child has to deal with it, not to mention his poor family. I’m off to spread the word on this one!

  3. says

    this hurts my heart. Poor sweet little boy. It makes me question the world so much when little kids get struck with such large illnesses. I mean, not to say that ANYONE deserves cancer, but children have done no wrong in this world. They are still so pure and innocent. To smack them in the face with a disease just breaks my heart. I will absolutely run for Kyle. How could I not?

    • Lisa says

      You have such a exquisite heart, so compassionate and caring… your comment shows to me who you are… you’re such a beauty Charlotte. Thank you for showing your support, obviously, this is so personal to me, every moving comment and gesture brings hope to this ugly situation, so grateful.

  4. Tamara (Tami) Weber says

    You are truley an amazing Friend to have done what you have done and what you are doing. I do not know Nicole that well, however her beautiful daughter Bailey is in the same class as my Son Cody, what a doll she is. I Volunteer every tuesday in the classroom and I often interact with Bailey and Kyle. I work with the kids in what they call centers. Now Kyle is in another class however he is usually in the same room with his class and thei volunteer. There is not a Tuesday that goes by when I dont see a smile on that adorable boy’s face. I also witness the nurse coming into the center room every tuesday taking his temperature. As it breaks my heart to see and I pray all is ok, There is Kyle with the biggest smile on his face. Then there is Beautiful Nicole that I see daily when we are picking up the kids, We dont always get to say hi as I am coming and she is going or visa versa but another one that is always looking her best and always have a smile on her face wheter she is happy or sad. & To top it off her kids look adorable every day. Anyway just wanted to share a little & to say lots of thoughts and prayes go out to the O’conner family and I would love to p in anway I can-Tami WEBER

    • Lisa says

      Tami, Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a heartfelt comment. I think right now Nicole needs to see that she is loved and that there are genuinely kind people out there like yourself. In the dark world that she is forced to live in, having comments and support like yours is extremely uplifting. I hope you will join us on Sunday February 10 at 8am at the park at the bottom of Wood Ranch Pkwy. We will be doing the 5K as a group… we would love to have you join us! Also spreading the word about this event is very helpful. To sign up for the race use the links above or if you have any questions please feel free to ask, Thank you again, I am blown away by the generosity and kindness of people.

  5. Andrea Konyk Hall says

    Everyday I am amazed at Nicole’s strength. This horrible disease has been in our family for years but Kyle is the youngest to have it. Every picture I see of Kyle, there is that beautiful smile on his face. He and Bailey are two of the toughest kids I know. What a duo. I think of all of my cousins daily and wish I lived closer so I could help Nicole out. You are a wonderful friend Lisa and I know Nicole is happy to have you in her corner. Sending lots of love from Winnipeg. Hugs.

  6. says

    Tearing up reading Kyle and his family’s story. I cannot believe the stress the family is going through. It is just too hard for me to conceptualize right now. My heart goes out to your friend and her family. Cancer is a horrid disease.

  7. Nicole says

    I am so moved by everyone’s comments of encouragement and support!! Lisa, words cannot express how grateful I am to have you in our lives- I will NEVER be able to re-pay you for all you have given my family. As Kyle & I head off to chemo tomorrow- I will take with me ALL these words of love & support from family, friends, & even complete strangers…having you on the sidelines cheering as Kyle races to beat cancer!! It is encouraging to know there are people pulling for him, loving him, giving him the strength to fight this ugly disease. Thank you for the support, love, and prayers you have sent our way. We feel very blessed!!! Good luck with your races!!!!! XOXO Nicole, Kyle, & Bailey

  8. Kim says

    I have retweeted and put on my Facebook page. I will be running at least one of the races to help out Kyle and his family and hope and I can get my family and friends to participate. We need to join together and show the goodness we all have within us. No one should have to go through cancer and especially not a child.
    Best wishes.


  1. […] Surrender, Trust, Believe This is one of my favorite posts from the week. Lisa talks about her quest for a marathon PR which, while it hasn’t resulted in that coveted PR, it has revealed some important life lessons. I admire her perspective and her passion, and her strength of character comes across through her words. Lisa is also organizing a virtual run to support her good friend and her 6 year-old son who is battling cancer. Please consider making a donation or running in support of Kyle’s Krusade. […]