By Elizabeth Dinh
Hundreds of people gathered outside the Seattle Center Saturday morning to take part in the Seattle Brain Cancer Walk. The annual event not only raises money for research but also helps bring patients and families together for one cause – a cure.
Carrying big signs and wearing colorful shirts declaring the name of a loved one at the cancer walk is like a parade of crusaders – each one battling to help find a cure while showing support for others dealing with the difficult disease.
“Nov. 4 was the day we first got the news that dad had a brain tumor,” said Maria Barrett.
Barrett was just one of 30 family members and friends walking as a part of the “Warriors 4 Dad” team in support of her dad, Ed Elston. In honor of Elston’s alma mater – Oregon State – the team decided to sport orange and black for the event. And despite his family’s best efforts to make things easier for Elston during the walk, Barrett says her dad was determined to take as many steps as he could on his own.
“We got the wheelchair just for this weekend, and he wasn’t too excited about that idea,” she said. “We’re so proud of him. We’re so, so proud of him. This has been something none of us will ever forget.”
For those walking in honor of someone no longer here, many said it was that person’s strength which continued to move them, including a group of 40 walking for KOMO 4 News Anchor Kathi Goertzen.
“In the springtime, Mom actually rounded us up and said – ‘Hey guys, I really want to do the Brain Cancer Walk’ – and we said – ‘Mom, you don’t have brain cancer, you have a benign tumor’,” said Alexa Jarvis, Kathi’s daughter.
But that didn’t matter; Alexa says her mom wanted to come to the walk anyway, simply to show support.
“It’s great to have someone come up and tell me that Kathi helped them get through,” said Rick Jewett, Kathi’s husband.
Kathi’s family says supporting others, without always knowing she was doing it, was and is the spirit of Kathi.
“It’s overwhelming for me,” said Elston.
Fighting brain cancer – something with no known cure – takes research and hope, and Elston says he plans to be a part of both.
Currently, there are more than 120 different types of brain tumors. All of the money raised from the walk goes toward patient care, advocacy and research happening in the Pacific Northwest.