The 2014 Freescale Austin Marathon and Half Marathon is this weekend, and 400 Team LIVESTRONG runners will be taking on the course. Team Kate is running with Team LIVESTRONG again this year, as they honor the life of Kate Voth and celebrate her memory. Kate’s husband, Mike Voth, will be taking on the full marathon this Sunday. Hear from Mike about his wife, her diagnosis and battle and the development of Team Kate.
My wife, Kate, passed away on June 1, 2013, after a five-year fight with metastatic melanoma. We had only been married a few weeks when we received the news from her doctor that cancer had spread from her scalp to her liver. That diagnosis began a long, arduous journey full of countless doctor visits, scans, medications, clinical trials, chemotherapy, radiation, surgeries and uncertainty.
Luckily the cancer was slow-growing, allowing Kate and I to maintain a relatively happy and fulfilling marriage. Knowing that her attitude was the only thing in this fight she truly had control over, Kate maintained a positive outlook and lived a life full of love and passion. One of her deepest passions was running. In 2007, before her metastatic diagnosis, Kate ran her first marathon and missed qualifying for the Boston Marathon by mere minutes. It was her goal to continue training and eventually compete in Boston. Unfortunately, complications due to her cancer severely limited her ability to continue running, and she was never able to achieve this goal.
Over the course of a few years, the disease spread to Kate’s adrenal glands, heart, bones and eventually her brain. Even when the cancer had her in unimaginable pain and took her ability to run, to walk and to see, Kate maintained a spirit that can only be described as inspiring. That fact became clear when Team Kate was founded with LIVESTRONG; she impacted more lives than we ever could have imagined.
What Team LIVESTRONG event are you participating in?
I am participating in the 2014 Austin Marathon. I have also participated in the 2013 Austin Marathon.
Why did you join Team LIVESTRONG?
In 2013, two of Kate’s friends from college, Katie Shagman and (LIVESTRONG staffer) Stephani Smolucha, decided to run their first half marathon in Austin. They asked Kate if they could run in her honor and fundraise as part of Team LIVESTRONG. Emphatically, Kate agreed and said if there was one thing she would ask people to do in her honor, it would be to run.
Kate was an extremely driven woman and always pushed herself beyond the perceived limits. This was true in her personal relationships, in her career and in her running. She loved nothing more than to see others challenge themselves and strive to do what they previously thought was impossible.
Always inspiring, it did not take long for Kate’s story to spread, and Team Kate quickly grew from just a few close friends and family to well over 100 participants. Many of those runners would go on to complete their first full marathon or half marathon.
When asked personally why I chose to join Team LIVESTRONG, I would say I do it to honor and support all those affected by cancer who wish they could be running. On particularly difficult training runs, I always remind myself that I do not HAVE to be out there running; I GET to run. I consider it a privilege.
Have you used LIVESTRONG’s navigation services?
Unfortunately, by the time we got involved with LIVESTRONG, Kate was relatively far along in her cancer journey, and we did not utilize any of LIVESTRONG’s navigation services.
However, I know the services are an invaluable resource and would highly recommend them to others. Having been fortunate enough to get to personally know many members of the LIVESTRONG team, I see their passion and dedication for their work. They deeply care about their mission, and I know they strive to ease the burden for anyone affected by cancer.
What does LIVESTRONG mean to you?
I truly believe what LIVESTRONG stands for. I believe that life must be lived with every ounce of our being, with channeled and fierce energy. I believe that you must not let cancer take control of your life and that attitude is everything. This is true for cancer survivors, their caregivers and their family and friends.
The support that Kate and I received from everyone at LIVESTRONG and Team Kate during her fight was invaluable. Depending on how you are affected personally, cancer can be a very lonely journey. LIVESTRONG provides a sense of unity and comfort in knowing that they are there with the sole purpose to assist all those affected by cancer.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone affected by cancer?
The single thing you have complete control over in this fight is your attitude. The fear and uncertainty that cancer brings will often feel overwhelming and it cannot be ignored. For me personally, I try to follow Kate’s example of maintaining an attitude of passion and love for life. This gives me a sense of peace and understanding. As the LIVESTRONG manifesto states, attitude is everything!