Caren Ware's Blog

November 20, 2010

Using Brawn to fight the Brain

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 9:55 am

Teaming up as a family to fight their daughter's brain cancer

Race for Research is directed by a gal who lost her vibrant, handsome, full of life brother to brain cancer. She is doing something about that staggering loss. Every November she flies from the east coast to Marina Del Rey to stage the Research For Research at Dockweiler Beach. It drew a large crowd that kept us hoping as a timing company. The course starts atop the bluff and finishes on the beach with the PA announcing winners and the surf crashing in as the back drop. I could tell it was going to be one of those races I would have little chance to wander through the throngs of runners.
But a family came to me.
Their daughter’s chip had come off her shoe attachment. Sign has to read “no chip, no time”, but we do our best to scan through back up systems and find participant missing times. I was doing the typical ten things at once demanded as we run multiple computers and wired or wireless systems that report 5K, 10Ks, and kids races all at the same time. I really didn’t look up, but started searching our back up times when they approached me with their problem.
“Any help you could give me on your approximate time?” I sounded robotic. The mom didn’t. In a hopeful voice she triumphantly reported that the mother and daughter synchronized their step to cross the finish line at the same time. She added. “It was a special step.” I looked up to see a mom and dad with their arms wrapped around their daughter. A wheelchair walker was propped beside them. I couldn’t tell the age of the daughter. She seemed juvenile.
My own daughter tells me I tend to plow into social conversations without lead in or finesse. Being under time constraints at races is somewhat to blame for that. So I plowed in. “What’s the story of having to use a walker?” I even felt stunned that I had asked to blatantly. The father bowed his head. And the mom explained. Their daughter was proudly tackling her first year at a university when she called to let her parents know that her penmanship was getting sloppy. Her mom said she had always had perfect grades and detailed penmanship. She also let them know that she was beginning to drool. Diagnosis. Healthily in her early twenties she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Operations and treatments to save her life left her learning to walk and speak again. And fighting. The pressures I thought I was under to accomplish the timing of the morning flapped away to meaninglessville. These guys were warrioring. The daughter explained through gestures and letters on her hand how hard it was to be so capable…so ready to start a young life…and so cruelly detained by the grave task of trying to survive. But she was going to give this, and every new thing in her life a fighting shot. Getting out and doing these races was a start. And a goal to enter the 2012 paraplegic Olympics. She was not going to sit back and wallow in her circumstances. She was going to take them on. Right on. Fight on Cappalunga family. Go, Veronica, go!

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