Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Brain Cancer Blog Guest Spot

This post is brought to by our Team Captain Kelly of Team Amazing Joe!

Mom and Dad 30th year Anniversary
Mary Kay and Joe
I will never forget the year 2008; it was the year my entire life was turned upside down. I found out my father had brain cancer.

Before his diagnosis my parents and I had just returned from Florida. My dad retired from Boeing after working there for over thirty years. He decided he wanted to become a marine surveyor so he enrolled in the Chapman school of Marine Surveying. When his course work was coming to an end my mom, grandma and I met with him to celebrate his licensure and the beginning of Dowell Marine Surveying. There was also a call for another celebration as it was my parents 30th year wedding
We returned to our daily routines after our great trip to Florida. One night I had just finished another grueling three hour boxing training session and was running errands on the way home. I received a phone call from my mom.

The next sequence of events would be forever imprinted in my mind.

When I arrived at our house, there was an ambulance and a fire truck outside and my dog was pacing rather than happily greeting everyone. I walked into the kitchen and my mom told me the news my dad had a seizure. The aid asked him who I was, he paused looked at me and said, “my daughter, Kelly.”
We went to the hospital where they performed several tests to determine that brain cancer had been the cause of the seizure. Few people ever expect something tragic and life altering to happen to them, but my father’s diagnosis was amplified since he had already overcome Stevens-Johnson syndrome, an autoimmune disease that was largely unknown when he was diagnosed. Despite several brushes with death due to Stevens-Johnson, my dad was able to overcome and manage his disease. More inspiring, he was never angry that he was sick and as a result spent much of his young adult life in hospitals. In fact, he kept a sense of humor and a giving heart even when he was sick with brain cancer. His actions reflected the value he saw in life and people; he knew the legacy one leaves will outlive their fortunes.


My Dad and I at the park when I was three.
My father is no longer here today, but he is my inspiration and the reason I am reaching out to you. I don’t want anyone to have to lose a loved one, friend or father to this disease.

Like my dad said, You only get one chance at life, but once is enough if you work it right.” So let’s work together to end this disease.
Thanks for joining me!


Please consider joining us this year by donating or signing up for our team. You don't have to be local to participate you can be a virtual walker. Every person who runs, walks, donates or volunteers is helping make a positive impact on brain cancer research. 

Donations can be made at our team site - Amazing Joe.


  1. What an inspiring story. My daughter was born with Prader-Willi Syndrome, she doesn't get to run because she isn't able to. I run for her every time I lace up. She's "training" for her first race, a 1K this September. I can't wait to run with her. She's so excited.

  2. Great post! When I get home from work, I'm going to head on over to that site. Wonderful story.

  3. Hi - I'm a first time commenter, linked over from Running In The Right Direction.

    I just signed up for my first Half Marathon, and will be running with the American Cancer Society team. This post really touched me. Cancer has affected my family so many times. We've been very lucky so far and haven't lost anyone due to the cancer.... but its scary how often it happens, and without warning, like the way it happened to Joe.

    I want to do my part to help battle this disease. And I want to honor all the people I know and love who have done battle with it personally.

    Best of luck to you at the Walk. You're doing such a great thing!