Allison North won’t be running for bargains on Black Friday. She’ll be running in memory of her father and grandmother, at an event she created to honor the two. As one of LIVESTRONG’s Grassroots Fundraisers, Allison tells her story:
At a young age I lost both my father and grandmother to kidney cancer. Twice in my young life – first at about 12 and again at 18 – I was intimately exposed to how aggressively cancer can weaken a body, deteriorate the spirit and forever change lives. I watched as two of the healthiest, active, vibrant and spirited members of our family fought for their lives and eventually lost their battles with a disease that they would have done anything to beat.
Shortly after Dad died, my mother, a family and marital therapist, was asked to author a piece about families and how they recover from loss for a collection of essays in a book entitled, “The Power of Play.” In her piece she concluded with a statement that embodied how I wanted to honor and remember my father and grandmother, something that has helped our family “survive” and something I think LIVESTRONG embodies:
“Playing brings out the warm pain-free parts of our characters. When passage to another world strips away the warm presence of a family member, it becomes crystal clear what the meaning of play is in life. Play leaves a legacy of laughter and love that cannot be diminished or stolen.”
Last year I contacted LIVESTRONG about starting an endowment in memory of my father and grandmother to support those who are still fighting, those who will have to in the future, and the millions of survivors, family and friends who stand united, determined to fight and beat cancer and to honor those, including Dad and Grandma, who lost their fight but whose memories and legacies remain with all of us every day.
Each year around Thanksgiving we hold a race in St. Louis to support the endowment and LIVESTRONG, and embody the spirit of survival we all fight for every day. Join us on November 23rd – Black Friday – at Creve Coeur Park for our 2nd annual Dan L. Jones Walk/Run. There will be a 1-mile family walk/run that begins at 8:30 AM, 6K race starts at 9:00 AM.