I have stated before that I meet the most remarkable people in my travels. Traveling this week to an incredible event to benefit those who battle diabetes every day. On the plane recently I began a conversation with Betty. Betty had remarkable tales of her family and one in particular struck me and that was the story of her niece, Katy, and Katy’s family.
Katy lost her battle with cancer at the age of 12 in 2010. She, according to Betty, is now an angel.
Who am I to argue that point.
Katy’s Courage was created by Katy’s family and a run is held every year which attracts thousands of people. The goal of this, now, nonprofit group is to eventually open a childhood bereavement center on Long Island in New York, where Katy lived. In her short life Katy embodied the definition of courage, kindness, and empathy in her valiant fight to beat the rare pediatric cancer she battled, which eventual took her life. The group also funds other things like scholarships. A very busy group that is in its infancy, but very determined none-the-less.
Ambitious goals that I applaud. Katy’s family could have just ‘packed-it-in’ and buried their heads. There is truly nothing like the loss of a child. But in Katy’s family, the best way to remember her is to make sure the battle with cancer does not end just with their lovely daughter; it is to make sure her death can be turned into helping others and the entire family is on a mission to make sure ‘helping’ others, as Katy would have done, continues forward.
But it is at this point in our conversation on the plane that Betty’s eyes start to focus on something that can only be seen in her mind. Looking at her lovely blue eyes through her glasses, I could see she was razor-focused on whatever she was thinking. This year’s Katy’s Courage Run took place on Saturday. Many, like she, in her family just love to run. On Monday her son would be running in the Boston Marathon, his first attempt at a marathon. So some family members would head to Boston to cheer him on.
Seems that the family was waiting by the finish line for her son to finish. They got there early so they would have a great spot at the finish line; right where they could see everything.
She spoke how the runners would go by so quick and many people were all looking to see their loved ones. In the midst of it all they heard from their son. He was okay but at mile 17 he had something go wrong with his leg. It hurt. He stopped running.
The officials told him it would be better not to finish the race. Although disappointed, he did not want to cause further damage. Something told him it was time to pull out. He reached out to those who were waiting by the finish line, told them there was no reason to wait anymore, and they arranged to meet. They left their position at the finish line to meet Betty’s son. As they left and reached about a block later, they heard a huge explosion behind them. Later they would find out that it was directly where they were standing.
I sat in amazement as she finished her story. I stated that her entire family surely had an angel looking out after them.
She smiled at me and she said without giving it a second’s thought; “Yes, and her name is Katy.”
I am a diabetes dad.
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