On September 23, 2014, my bride, and best friend Barbara went home to be with The Lord after a 2 1/2 year battle with stage 4 GBM. It was such a long battle and she NEVER quit fighting and believing for "ABUNDANT LIFE" even when things got tough—really tough for her. It was so difficult for her and us. This was not her first fight with a brain tumor. In 1985, she was diagnosed with a large non-cancerous astrocytoma- which was surgically removed. She won this battle, which was a long fight.
Cancer didn't define her life—she lived it to the fullest.
In February 2014, during a two week stay at UPMC Shadyside, she had "an idea". I (Tom, her husband) was with her along with her surgeon, our Pastor and his wife. She said at one point, "One of our sons have been running some 5K races, why not do a 5K to bring awareness to this disease?”
"Why not"? No one seems to really know much about this type of cancer. We should do this. She was looking at me when she said, "We should do this." This wasn't a real surprise to me or any of us there with her, because she was ALWAYS such a "VISIONARY" person who loved The Lord and loved serving and helping other people. That was ALWAYS her heart. With Barb, life was ALWAYS about OTHERS—NOT ABOUT US AND NOT ABOUT HER. Reaching out and "touching" other lives was her heart and a big part of her legacy.
Only a few weeks later I reached out to her neurosurgeon and her neuro-oncologist who connected us with Amyjo McDade and her colleague, both employees of the Hillman Cancer Center. We met them after a doctor visit, and Barb presented them her idea, her vision of bringing a 5K to life. Honestly, it was a very emotional time for the 4 of us at that table. We decided then it was a "GO". So, our passion kicked into high gear. "Let's do this."
One week later, on April 4, 2014, the planning began with Amyjo, her 4 aunts and me (Tom). We met at the Dairy Queen in White Oak those first several gatherings. And WOW did it begin to grow and flow.
We worked (and still do work) so well together. In those 5 short months we met with some GREAT families and people who have the same passion we have, and they joined our TEAM. Our TEAM grew into an incredible "machine". We "presented" the "1st BRAIN CANCER AWARENESS 5K" on August 23, 2014, and it was a smashing success. A testimony to us all of what TEAMWORK AND PASSION can accomplish.
Barbara was able to make it there that day to "see" the vision become "real". It was such a blessing for her to see so much "LIFE" in everyone who was there that day. To those who came and ran or walked or served, thank you all. You made it such a success.
As a TEAM, our goal is simple; 1). To "BRING AWARENESS" to this disease. 2). To "HONOR" our families and all those affected by this and to "BRING THEM HOPE" 3). And to have "FUN" in the process. The MISSION/VISION continues... And has become something very special. You are invited to become a part of what we do.