My Dad was diagnosed with Cholangiocarcinoma in September 2012. Cholangiocarcinoma begins in the bile duct and is labeled as the "silent disease" because many times the symptoms can go unnoticed until the cancer is at an advanced stage. Perihilar cholangiocarcinoma, which is what my Dad was diagnosed with, develops where the hepatic ducts have joined and leave the liver. My Dad lost his battle to cancer on August 3, 2013, just short of a year after he was diagnosed.
There are so many things that my Dad taught me, but one that has always stayed with me is to constantly challenge myself.
I was lucky to have my Dad coach me in youth soccer and then again at the High School level. He was always pushing me to my limits and beyond, helping me achieve things I never thought I could. Because of my Dad, I was able to become a collegiate soccer player, where my "coach" became my biggest fan and supporter.
As the anniversary of my Dad's passing approaches, I will be partaking in another great challenge, The Great River Ragnar Relay. Our 12 member team will start running in Winona, MN along the Mississippi River and finishing in Downtown Minneapolis.
Adding to my drive to complete this race is my best friend, Meghan Carey Dershem. The world unexpectedly lost Meghan, at the age of 34, on April 15, 2013. Meghan, a licensed clinical social worker, devoted her career to assist others in need. The very first person I met at the University of Findlay, Meghan had a contagious smile that lit up the room. She was not just my best friend but a role model on how to treat people with kindness and respect. Although Meghan did not pass due to cancer, she often volunteered to improve the lives of others. The race will end on August, 16, 2014, on what would have been her 36thbirthday. Help me wish her a “happy birthday” and to continue the life lessons my Dad taught me by completing the 200 mile relay. For this race I run in honor of my “Poppa”, Raul Dominguez, and my best friend, Meghan Dershem. I know both will be smiling down on me that day.
Any donations raised will go towards The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation. www.cholangiocarcinoma.org