Stories And Inspiration
A Father and Son Bond Over RunningSubmitted by Karen Grossman on Jun 26th 2018 - 12:00AM. | Perma Link
By Travis Hicks
GO FAR volunteer
Three years ago, our then 12-year-old daughter Lilli had just finished her first attempt at defeating AML leukemia through intense chemotherapy and long-term hospital stays. She had fought to save her life, and I was in the worst shape of my life. I decided to improve my health by chan
ging my diet and starting to exercise, first by walking and then by running. Running was a struggle at first, but soon I discovered that I had an aptitude for running that had gone untapped for 40+ years. Within six months I had fallen in love with running.
Running became my go-to therapy during our daughter’s continuing battle against recurring leukemia (yes, it came back with a vengeance) via additional chemotherapy treatments, radiation, and a bone marrow transplant. I was mostly a solitary runner, using the times I ran to contemplate life, death, sickness, and health, and to enjoy God’s creation while running outdoors. I ran multiple half marathons, a full marathon, and several shorter races, always going by myself and leaving my wife LouAnne and our kids Lilli, Amelia, and Collin at home while I traveled around the state to run races.
My solitary connection to running changed when Collin came home from school excited about the GO FAR program. A 4th grader at General Greene Elementary, Collin was told that the only way to ensure a slot on the school’s team was to have a parent volunteer to help with training. As a university professor, I have been blessed with a flexible schedule that allows me to participate in my kids’ school activities when they don’t conflict with my teaching schedule; therefore, I was able to volunteer for GO FAR training after school.
Collin and I joined a large group of students, parents, teachers, and coaches for a 10-week training plan for the GO FAR 5K in High Point. Collin trained two days a week after school, and I was able to volunteer to help with one of those two days. It was great to connect with my son in a new way and to bring my passion for running to him and his classmates. My contribution to the training group was running and walking with groups of students and, occasionally, leading a stretching exercise following our workouts.
The race day experience was incredible. There were more runners in the GO FAR 5K than in any other race I had run previously, and the atmosphere was electric. I saw glimpses of myself in my son. I saw my son push himself through the winding and hilly course, ultimately to a strong finish just ahead of me. And to run beside my son during his first 5K race is an experience I’ll remember forever.
Our family of five have survived a battle with cancer and numerous ups and downs. Running has been a constant therapy for me over the past three years, and now I have a deeper connection to my son through running. Thank you, GO FAR!
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