Kim’s Story

I was inspired to participate in the Inaugural 4k for Cancer Run in 2013 by my dad, Ralph LaBarge.
My dad was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2009 when I was a senior in high school. He went through a year of standard chemo and radiation, and went into remission. 
After that year my family started to fall back into our normal lives, and for almost four years, cancer didn’t really cross my mind. 
The summer of 2012 before my senior year of college, we found out that my dad’s cancer had metastasized to the lining of his stomach and was now Stage 4. 
He went through intense surgery, a 6 week hospital stay, and 8 rounds of chemo over the next 10 months. 
After this reoccurrence, I knew that cancer was always going to be a part of my life and I needed to find some way to make this experience positive in some small way for me and my family
The day I heard about the 4k, I knew I had found it, and that I would be spending my summer running from San Francisco to Baltimore. 
To be very clear I hate running, like really hate it anyone who knows me can tell you. 
But I knew if my dad was strong enough to face cancer for the second time I was strong enough to run and to show him that I was there fighting with him.
Right before I left for the run in 2013, we found out that my dad had gone back into remission. 
It seemed like fate that as I was starting my journey to honor him, my dad was finally cancer free again
While I was running, dedicating each day to him, he was back home in Maryland, walking and regaining his strength, dedicating his days to getting stronger for me and the rest of my family. 
When I got back from the run my dad was at the top of Federal Hill in Baltimore and I knew every day, mile, and every struggle was worth it. 
It was a perfect day. 
Just about a year later, in June of 2014, we found out that my dad’s cancer had returned for the third time, and had spread to his liver. He started chemo again and things were looking positive. 
On August 20th, 2014 my dad passed away suddenly after 6 years of fighting with everything he had. 
Our family is not and will never be the same and I miss my dad everyday. 
But knowing that I was able to accomplish something as amazing as the 4k in his honor, and that he was here to see me finish brings me an unexplainable amount of comfort
My dad was able to face this disease with positivity, courage, and strength and I try to remind myself everyday to live like he did.
My dad loved to run, and loved to bike and swim. When I finished the 4k, my dad was only two months out of treatment and we biked 70 miles together at the 24 hours of Booty event (a 24 hour cycling event) in Columbia, he passed away just three days before we were planning on riding in 24 hours of Booty again in 2014. 
Our goal was 100 miles. He would be so proud to know that there were teams of riders and runners all across the country dedicating their days to him covering those miles he didn’t get a chance to ride. 
Know that while you are all riding and running today for my dad, I am back in Baltimore putting in miles dedicated to all of you!

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2019-07-22T11:32:37+00:00