Why We Run: Tracy (JMT-Chi 2019)
Every hour of every day one American life is lost to this awful disease.
In the hour between 2am and 3am pacific time on January 9, 2014, my Ginger kid, Connor Mehaffey Cockerham, lost his battle.
He was only 20.
While his treatments were working to shrink the tumors in his body, the treatment was not effective in stopping the metasteses to his brain.
Melanoma is a monster.
Our family will never be the same and he is missed every second of every day.
I don’t have energy in my body to train like I should for this race, but I will finish the race and I will continue to raise as much money as possible.
I signed up to run for this cause in honor of my son.
I will finish it in memory of him.
I am leaving this messages below so that you can read Connors full story
With much gratitude and love,
Mother of The Ginger.
Dear Friends and Family,
We believed that our 20 year old son, Connor, was cancer-free. He was enrolled in college full time and had a job where he worked about 25 hours a week.
Everything was normal.
About the 4th week of October, Connor texted me a picture that he’d taken of his eyelid that showed a suspicious looking black spot. We immediately called his oncologist and had an appt scheduled. Until that point, Connor felt fine though he had experienced occasional nausea and some body pain, but nothing that stopped him from his daily activities.
On November 1st our family traveled to NYC where I would be running the 2013 NYC Marathon.
During dinner our first night Connor became so sick that the following morning we went to emergency room. It was there that the first CT scan was done – and it showed all of the tumors in Connor’s body. We immediately returned to California and went directly to emergeny room from the airport. After a quick review of his CT scan and the report we brought from the NYC hospital – Connor was admitted and we began the long journey of battling stage 4, the final stage, of metastatic melanoma.
Connor has tumors in almost every organ and bones and shows signs of growth in his lungs, but fortunately his MRI brain scan was clear.
He is being treated at UCSF Medical Center – and is on the Tafinlar-Mekinist combo therapy – which is a fairly new drug combo.
He’s been on the medication for 3.5 weeks and so far is showing no signs of responding. This combo is effective in shrinking tumors about 80% of the time. We are scheduled to have a scan in the next 10 days and based on those results may move to another treatment. We are not giving up hope.
Our days now are spent with an unrelenting medication schedule to help manage pain and nausea. His doctors have told me they are not sure how he was walking around with all of this in his body. Interestingly, he’d had a physical two months prior and all of his blood work was normal.
So, that’s the update. When I read the message I wrote below I recall how wonderful it felt that my son was healthy. I’m looking forward to a time when I can write a “my son is cancer-free” again.
The research is terribly important – but Jack’s Fund also does a tremendous amount to raise awareness. Many people think that melanoma is “just a skin cancer” and no big deal. Here’s what I have to say to that….take a look at a stage 4 CT Scan and you will see the melanoma so much more than skin deep.