“As the father of Amy Caryn Kaphengst, deceased by melanoma on January 6th 2007, I’d like to thank your program and Dr. Jon Richards for his care of my daughter these past few years. I walked in the 5k in Glen Ellyn in 2005 and I hope to do so in the future. Thank you for your dedicated work to relieve patients and parents like us.”
Edward S. Friedricks, MD (retired) January 24, 2007
Written by Joel Kaphengst October, 2009
This will be the 5th year that my daughters and I participate in the “This Run’s for Jack” 5k Run/Walk that benefits The Jack H Marston II Melanoma Fund.
For our family, it all started back in January of 2005. That’s when my beautiful wife, Amy’s melanoma cancer recurred. She had originally found a quarter sized mole on her left hip in August of 2000, a few months after our second daughter, Emily was born and it was determined to be melanoma. Due to the size and depth of the mole, Amy needed further diagnostic surgery, which concluded that the melanoma had spread. So, under the care of Dr. Jon Richards at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, Amy had a lymph node dissection followed by year of interferon treatments. Biannual scans came back cancer free until January 2005 when the melanoma recurred in her lung. So, once again we were placed back on the treadmill of cancer treatment.
It was after the recurrence in 2005 that Amy found out about “This Run’s for Jack” 5k Run/Walk through Dr. Richards’ office. She viewed the race as a way to fight back and as a source of hope. Amy gathered a big group of family and friends to join her at the race and support the great work that Jack’s Fund was doing. The morning of the run, we got to Ackerman Park in Glen Ellyn very early to check in and enjoy the morning activities, like the pre-race information about melanoma by Dr. Richards and the pre-race stretch. There were even free skin checks being provided by local dermatologists. The atmosphere is one of fun and companionship, almost family like. We enjoyed the event so much, that we planned to make it an annual family event.
Although, Amy was too sick to participate in the event in 2006 and lost her battle to melanoma cancer on January 6th, 2007, my daughters and I and our friends and family continue to participate in “This Run’s For Jack” each year. It is a tangible way to celebrate Amy’s life and it has grown in size each year as more families join the fight against melanoma. Last year the organizers added a Team Challenge Event and I am proud to say that Amy’s Team won the “Largest Team” award. I feel this is both a tribute to Amy and her wonderful spirit and to Jack’s Run for creating an atmosphere where families feel good gathering to remember and to celebrate. It is an event filled with positive energy and hope.