Two and a half years ago, when I lost my job, I was devastated. I was on track to finally be ordained for my work in the non-profit world, I was really enjoying being in Richmond, and things seemed to be going really well. But then things changed, and I ended up doing the only thing I knew I could do at the time - I moved home. At 33 I was moving back in with my parents... it seemed like such a step backwards. At the time, I was grateful to my parents for opening their home to me, but also frustrated that I found my adult self in this position. Looking back on that, it was a blessing in disguise. I had no idea that these precious moments with my mom were fleeting. About five months after I moved home, my parents sold their house and moved just outside of Hilton Head. But since I was in Atlanta, it was easy enough to get down and see them over the next few months. I had also started working back at Big Peach, and had a flexible enough schedule that I could do this frequently. I used it as an excuse for a vacation, because their retirement community had some sweet amenities. But I had also really enjoyed spending time with them when I was home, and missed them. Last Mother's Day, mom and dad came up to Atlanta and we all went out to brunch. I remember that they ended up leaving right after because mom was feeling tired... My entire life, I've shared my birthday with Mother's Day - even though they haven't always been the same day, it's been close enough that we usually did a joint celebration. I remember thinking "I want my own celebration weekend... and whenever I have my own kids it's going to get lumped together too." This year, all I want is to celebrate Mother's Day with my mom... About a month later, the diagnosis came - Stage 4 Colon Cancer with liver involvement. Mom hadn't been feeling well for months, but it took until June 17 to get the diagnosis. I keep looking back and wondering, if we'd figured it out even a month sooner, would we have had more time? Mom bravely faced four rounds of chemo, despite really not wanting to. She was at peace with dying - but we weren't ready to lose her. That year I lost my job, I also ran the Dumbo Challenge at Disneyland for Team for Life with Lazarex Cancer Foundation. At the time, I ran in honor of my dad's best friend Steve who had pancreatic cancer. We lost Steve in 2014. As soon as mom was diagnosed, I immediately reached out to Lazarex to see how we could utilize their services. Lazarex helps find cancer trials for end-stage patients who aren't responding to traditional treatment methods. My friend Adam's dad has been going through trials for kidney cancer and has seen some success, but he continues to wait for that illusive "in remission" diagnosis. The sad part of our story is that mom's diagnosis came too late. Just three and a half short months after her diagnosis, mom passed away in her sleep. She had a peaceful smile on her face, but I continued to struggle with the "what if" questions. That's why for the 2017 Disney Goofy Challenge, I am running in memory of my mother. I am running again with Team for Life, in their Cancer Busters Program, to support this charity that CAN help us find a cure to cancer. Clinical trials are an important part of the process to learn how we finish this disease once and for all. I hope that by raising $3500 for Lazarex, I will help other families have more time with their loved ones going through cancer, as well as get us closer to a cure.