When I was just 12 years old, I lost my beloved Grandpa (Gordon Bailey) to lung cancer. He was a life-long smoker.
Fast forward to 1997, I was engaged and my future mother-in-law, Georgia Earlene, was diagnosed with lung cancer. She too, a life-long smoker. I had the honor of being at Georgia's bedside with Kevin, my soon-to-be husband, as Georgia took her last breath. I will never forget that day: January 8, 1998.
Forward again to many years later and I received a phone call from my Mom. She told me my Aunt Joan had just been diagnosed with lung cancer. I was stunned...as was the family. Joan never smoked a day in her life, nor did her spouse or children. How could this be? Aunt Joan battled hard for the next couple of years. She had a lung removed, endured chemo. Fought tough. She succumbed to this disease in late October 2011.
Aunt Joan was a wonderful mother of four, grandmother to eight. She was an artist and crafter. Aunt Joan never forgot a birthday. Always loved a holiday! She was kind, loving and thoughtful. I had knee surgery years ago, and other than my Mom, Aunt Joan called me that night "to just check on me."
I dedicate my run on November 8 to Grandpa, Georgia and Aunt Joan. But most especially I want to have my personal best run for Aunt Joan. She fought hard, was full of life and spirit and didn't deserve a disease known to affect "only smokers." My love and dedication to Grandpa, Georgia and Aunt Joan. My heart always with you as your spirits are with me.
First Published: May 5, 2017
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