Now that our winter season has officially started, I’ve started getting our weekly info emails. Part of the emails include what is called a Mission Moment. Mission Moments are real stories of cancer patients who’s amazing and incredible fight against their disease serve to empower and inspire us participants on our toughest hill, our earliest run, in the coldest or hottest weather… to remind us not only why we are doing what we are, but also to put in perspective how very lucky we are to even be able to run/bike/swim/hike like we want to.
This week’s Mission moment was about a young girl named Kati who bravely fought, and tragically lost her battle with AML at the tender age of 14. The story was written by her father, Rick, and has been shared with TNT participants for quite a few years now. This incredibly strong little girl whom I have never, and sadly will never meet, is one of the many reasons I run in purple.
The Most Beautiful Story Ever Told
“Johns Hopkins Hospital has as part of their staff, Child Life Specialists. These are well trained individuals who help young patients cope with procedures and their diseases through counseling and play. Kati loved them dearly, and would often be found following one around the hospital, lending a helping hand. Once, while Kati was helping, she learned of something the specialists did for parents about to lose their child, they would make a plaster cast of the child’s hand for the parents to keep. I knew of this too, having visited a few parents on the Pediatric Intensive Care floor.
One day, Kati and I walked through our favorite toy store and we came across a kit that made impressions of a child’s hand, I looked at my ten year old child, and wished she didn’t know the things she did. Kati looked up to me, she gave me a hug as we slowly moved forward. She was again taking care of me.
When Kati relapsed, one of the things that bothered her most was she couldn’t go out and be with the Team at trainings. One day, while we were at the hospital, Kati had this thoughtful gaze, and then she asked me, ‘Daddy, you know the handprints they make for parents?’ I said I remembered, she then asked, ‘If something happened to me, would you be terribly upset if you didn’t have one?’ I answered, ‘If you don’t want us making one, it won’t bother me not to have one.’ Kati then said, ‘Well, it’s not that I don’t want one made, I just thought we could give it to Ms. Jess (the TNT Campaign Director at the time) and she would have it for the Teams, it would be like I was still giving them high fives.’ That she would think of that blew me away and I said ‘Of course.’
I honored Kati’s wish and when the Child Life Specialist came that evening we knew the end was near, I told her I would like her to make one, and I told her of Kati’s wish. That dedicated, compassionate soul wound up making two that night. So one is with me and there is one with Team in Training.
Soon after her passing, a group from the many Team in Training alums Kati touched got together and decided to make a memorial to her and Kati’s dedication to the Team and to finding a cure for blood cancer to help all those yet to come. They decided to incorporate that hand, and they decided to make that memorial at the place that made Kati happier than any other, Mile Marker 1 of the Baltimore Annapolis Trail where Team in Training meets to start their training.”
When I was running in Annapolis last weekend, I got to see Kati’s touch.
I’ll leave you with a Video of Rick Fisher and Kati Fisher’s speech at the TNT Inspiration Dinner at the Baltimore Running Festival in 2001.