Hi there Tom and team,
I was so inspired by your Bigfoot 200 race this year. My daughter, Lauryn was diagnosed at age 14 in May 2017 with adenoid cystic carcinoma. It’s a slow growing but relentless cancer without treatment protocol or cure. She will be treated for it the rest of her life, like a chronic disease. We take things day-by-day around here. She underwent 3 surgeries in 2017 and 2018 and 33 rounds of proton radiation treatment. We are currently in a holding pattern watching a new lung nodule that may or may not be her first sign of mets.
I started an organization ACCKT (Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Kids + Teens) while she was still undergoing radiation treatments and in the two years since have led our team through Cycle For Survival to raise $100,000 for ACC research at Memorial Sloan Kettering, including the first ever pediatric ACC research. I did it all for my daughter, but frankly this year I’m tired - I’m weak, I’m scared and I’ve been quite down as we’ve had to do so much waiting about this potential lung met, that may mean a lung biopsy soon. I signed up to do a Make-A-Wish 26.2 mile Trailblaze Challenge that is coming up this weekend, and your trail run on Mt. St. Helens gave me a lot of motivation when I’ve been in a really dark place this year. So I want to thank you so much for that. And now that you are going for the Moab 240….wow, it’s amazing and I will certainly be thinking of that as I take on my measly 26.2 miles on Saturday!
My girl is amazing and is preparing her college applications now. She doesn’t let her cancer get in her way of living, and right now she’s fortunate to not have any symptoms or side effects, even though the lung nodule is quite worrisome to me and her dad. We would be honored to have you run mile for Lauryn, but certainly understand if all miles are full.
Thank you for sharing your story and helping other cancer parents like me by inspiring us to keep pushing forward even when we feel we can’t. You are a truly special man (and team!)
Mom of Lauryn Heller, age 16, Sandy Hook, Connecticut