Blogs > From The Bleacher Seats

A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Renal Race 2: Running for our lives

The Renal Race 2.
Until I got the diagnosis a few years ago, I did not even know what renal was.
Then the doctor added that my renal cell cancer had metastasized.
All right, the word cancer got my attention. I did not need a Merriam Webster dictionary, a Roget’s thesaurus or even cursory Google search.
I found out that renal cell cancer is a type of kidney cancer.  It wasn’t content to just loiter in one kidney, either. It had spread to my bones, lungs and soon thereafter, my brain.
I was not too worried about the last locale. There’s not a whole lot of intelligent matter to adhere to inside my cranium. I prove that on a pretty regular basis.
Still, it is hardly the greatest diagnosis you want to hear. The only reason I even went to the doctor in the first place was that my side was aching and I thought I’d pulled a muscle from raking leaves or maybe even had a collapsed lung.
Three years or so later, I am feeling great. So don’t start sending those sympathy cards just yet. Sorry you can’t go cheap on me and turn those wilting Valentine’s Day roses into a funeral arrangement. Just keep me on the prayer lists while I pray that God grades on a very liberal curve.
The Renal Race 2 will be held on March 16 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and I plan on participating. There will be a 5k and a one-mile fun walk. A T-shirt is promised to the first 100 to register. The deadline to pre-register is March 5, and the cost is $15.

Proceeds go to the fight against kidney cancer. The cause is near and dear for obvious reasons.
It’s pretty much the same reason the race was initiated last year by Erin Rebo-Pikul, whose husband, Frank, got a similar diagnosis as mine a couple of years back.
Here’s part of their story, as told by Erin:
“In a dimly lit emergency room, our privacy only being curtains, we stared at each other. The last thing we heard was, “We looked at the scan, and there’s an 85 percent chance it’s cancer.”  My only response was, “Well, that leaves 15 percent doesn’t it?”  No one ever expects to hear those words; or wants to believe them. But, it happens every day. And, it’s terrifying and sad and you feel like you want to throw up. You feel alone and overwhelmed and beyond helpless.
"After a year of keeping it to ourselves, I couldn’t handle it anymore. It was only made worse by finding out that after surgery and months of treatment, it was back. How do you look at your husband, who’s fighting for his life and not have one answer or solution? I vowed to take care of him always until death do us part…I was certainly not ready for that part. How do you look at your baby, so innocent and unknowing?  Or your mother-in-law, your husband’s mommy, and have no comfort to give? Such responsibility was placed on me and yet I never knew it until something like this happened.
"The Renal Race changed all of that. When I told our story, out loud for the first time, I was just as scared as the night in that emergency room. “How will people perceive this?  Is Frank going to be upset when people starting asking questions? Will anyone even read it?” But, there you all were, and continued to be. It wasn’t until then that Frank could really begin to grieve or really accept that this happened. But, moreover, The Renal Race became bigger than the cancer. We were helping other people when we didn’t even know how to help ourselves.  And that is something unbelievable.”
Honestly, I am not looking forward to the eight-hour drive just to waddle through the one mile I’ll be handling. That is not the point, though.
The point is supporting a cause of such a personal nature. A handful of years ago, I wouldn’t have thought about driving that far for a run. But a handful of years ago, I didn’t have a scar that is about a foot long across the lower portion of my back. A handful of years ago I was not on a regiment that required a handful of pills every morning followed by a handful every night.
I’m feeling good, but every three months they do another scan. There’s always that trepidation when you wait for the doctor to deliver the results.
I just had a scan on Friday. No matter what the results, I plan on making the drive to Wilkes-Barre next month for Renal Race 2. I’ll be there to support Frank, Erin and their son. All right, I’ll be there to support me, too.
For more information on Renal Race 2, visit or go to The Renal Race page on Facebook.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home