More than a race: Parents of children with cancer will run Wasatch Back relay in honor of their kids
“I was freaking out quite a bit,” said Claire, 16. “I do appreciate (the parents running for her). If anyone shows support for childhood cancer, I appreciate it because it’s not always as recognized as other cancers.”
Driggs said it enables her to do more than watch helplessly as her daughter struggles to do the simplest tasks.
“A 5K is the most I’ve ever done,” Driggs said. “Then I saw one of my (assigned) legs is 6 1/2 miles. But I thought, ‘You know, I spent a lot of months watching my daughter not be able to go from sitting to standing, and I would run and think I’m doing it because she can’t run. And that’s when I really started running was after she was diagnosed.” The daily exercise helped her deal with the sea of issues that arise when a child is dealing with a life-threatening medical condition.
“You can kind of put your problems down on the side of the road next to you and run away from them,” she said smiling, “but it’s not hurting anyone.”
All of the parents find their own way to deal with helping their children navigate cancer, and in the process they find beautiful moments in what others might see as mundane.
“It makes us think about what matters in life,” said Shawn Beus, whose 12-year-old daughter, Brielle, was diagnosed with leukemia nearly three years ago. After two failed bone marrow transplants, doctors told the family that she had just a few months to live. The family's situation is complicated because two months after Brielle was diagnosed in 2010, Shawn Beus was diagnosed with an incurable blood cancer. He said he will run for Brielle because he wants her to know he is fighting for her; he supports her; and he admires her strength and courage.
The family is trying to focus on enjoying whatever time they have together.
“We try not to sweat the small stuff. Things seem petty in life, but we still have to take care of ourselves, still have to have jobs, and the lawn still has to get mowed,” he said. “We still have to do those things that we don’t care about anymore because we just want to be together as a family.”
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