About a week ago, I visited a close friend who has glioblastoma, which is a fancy name for brain cancer. My friend was diagnosed with brain cancer the same week I filed for divorce, and I suppose that our big fat life changes were why we bonded (and subsequently dated for a few months). Even then I knew that I wasn’t in a good space to try to have a relationship, but my friend is exceptional and I felt fortunate to have him in my life.
I’m still fortunate because he remains in my life, even though his glioblastoma remains, too. Lately, he’s been pretty homebound as his fight against this aggressive cancer continues. When I visited him, we just sat in his bed with his dog and listened to records and talked.
And I went home, sat at my desk, and cried.
After that, I dove back into work, thinking it would help distract me. I had an email from KC Running Company asking me whether I could volunteer at a local 5k that weekend. The race was a fund raiser for Head for the Cure, which raises money to fight glioblastoma:
Chris was an avid runner. He had an unmatched competitive spirit and loved the outdoors. And so we come together to run, in honor and memory of a very good man, and to continue his fight.
Later, at the race, I met several volunteers and runners who have lost someone to glioblastoma. Next month marks 10 years since my mother died of multiple myeloma and peritoneal cancer, so I’m intimately familiar with what these families and friends are experiencing.
We are in a club none of us wanted to join.
I stood at the finish line on a bright, sunny, gorgeous day and cut race chips off running shoes as runners crossed the finish line. I watched family members and friends hug each other. I saw the teams in matching t-shirts who ran or walked together in memory of lost loved ones.
Three point one miles. For some people, that sounds too far to run. For other people, that’s barely a warm up. At Head for the Cure, 3.1 miles means money raised to help cure glioblastoma.
Maybe a 5k is the perfect distance, after all.