On October 11, 2016 Nike Beddow and 17 others crossed the Grand Canyon on foot, in one day. Beginning on the North Rim 9,000 feet above sea level, we took our first steps into the canyon before dawn. Thirteen hours later as the sun set, the last of the team reached the South Rim on Bright Angel Trail. The journey was 23.5 miles and tested us against 10,000 feet of descent and ascent. As we hiked together, we shared our stories, hope and encouragement. Thank you, Nike, for sharing your reflections from the journey.
I crossed the canyon to honor my sister Dana and the many, many other friends who have lost their lives to brain cancer. Dana was my little sister and only sibling. She was diagnosed with an anaplastic astrocytoma at the age of 25. She had recently been married. Doug and Dana loved each other immensely and were determined to live life to the fullest, even after a death sentence. Dana was a gutsy, determined person who would not let brain cancer get in the way of what she wanted to do. The most important thing to her was to have a family. After her initial radiation treatments, Dana stopped taking all her anti-seizure medications and became pregnant. It was a perfect pregnancy and on April 30, 1996, she gave birth to Kati – my beautiful niece! After Kati’s birth, Dana felt a renewed sense of purpose and resolve to help others battling brain cancer. It was at that time that she decided to create a 5k run/walk to raise awareness, community support and research dollars for brain cancer patients. May 7, 2017, will be the 20th anniversary of the Race for Hope. In the past 20 years, the race has connected thousands and thousands of families facing this disease, given hope to survivors, and raised over $27 million for research. It is an incredible legacy that Dana leaves behind. She created a ripple effect…survivors and loved ones who have participated in the race have gone on to inspire others to get involved and make a difference.