By Ernest Park
My first LACC was special because it was shortly after my father passed away. It was me, my brother, mom and girlfriend Robyn. This was my mom’s first race and I was excited to be running with my family. At the starting line I turned my back for a second and as I did, the race started and my mom took off. She just started sprinting without the rest of the family; she had run off without us! I had never seen my mom run like that. It was fantastic and all we could do was chase after her. It was, without a doubt, the most amazing start to our first LACC.
The LACC showed us that we are not alone in this relentless fight against pancreatic cancer. It is so uplifting to see the tremendous amount of passion and support for finding a cure. The fact that such a community exists and is marching forward to do the amazing work they have been doing is so encouraging. I lost my dad to pancreatic cancer November 1, 2009. It is especially fitting that we honor his memory and life around the darkest time of the year for our family. The LACC has been a remarkable outlet to honor my dad’s life while supporting the pancreatic cancer community.
I’m usually apprehensive to ask friends and family to donate or get involved in anything. That fear has faded since seeing the outpouring of support the LACC gathers each year. My wonderful network of friends and family love getting together every year for the race, they get excited and ask how we’re going to top the last year. They were the most amazing group of minions (from Despicable Me) last year and soldiers in Dumbledore’s army (from the Harry Potter series) this year. They are what drive me and fuel me to organize a team each year. Their willingness to support this amazing organization each year truly means the world to me and I can’t wait for the many years to come.
Running for a cause and having that focus motivates me to think beyond myself. The organization has boosted my confidence and brought light to the subject of pancreatic cancer. Instead of all the negative experiences I’ve had with the disease I can now add every great memory I have had with the Hirshberg Foundation to the list. Pancreatic cancer will always be a part of my life since it took someone so dear to me. I want to be able to support others that are fighting cancer as well as those friends and family members that are battling right alongside them. I love the race and everything it stands for and will continue to support and participate every year!