I am running the Chicago Marathon on October 11, 2020 in honor of my brother, Roger Rockers, who died from pancreatic cancer in February 2017. I am a member of the Project Purple team raising money for pancreatic cancer research. Roger wasn't a runner and didn't understand why anyone would choose to run for "fun" but he did understand determination, grit and toughness and I watched him show these attributes throughout his illness. Once accurately diagnosed, he underwent a Whipple procedure in March 2014. On the one year anniversary we celebrated his recovery only to learn 3 short months later the cancer had returned and he began a long and grueling process of chemo and doctor visits. He never gave up and never showed anger or bitterness about the hand that had been dealt to him. If anything, he became more resolute in his faith, showed more patience with others and worked every day on the farm getting his work done. He was a farmer's farmer and spent every day that he could doing what he loved. Throughout his illness Roger kept his humor and exhibited a toughness that left me in awe more than once. He was frequently heard saying that you had to be tough when life handed you the unexpected. He lived his motto, 'you gotta be tough' every single day for three years. It is this motto that I use when I run. I am lucky to be able to be on the running path for fun or to train for a long run when he and so many others can't. 'You gotta be tough' is what I tell myself when I want to quit. 'You gotta be tough' is what I tell myself when I have doubts about training. 'You gotta be tough' is what I tell myself when it is miserably hot or miserably cold and I just want to stop and go home. For a guy who never ran he has put a lot of miles in with me through his example of determination and grit. He was tough and as I raise money for Project Purple and train for the Chicago Marathon I will be tough like him, for him, and in many ways, because of him.
All funds raised will be used by Project Purple to help in their efforts of research and support to families for a world without pancreatic cancer. To read more about Project Purple and their work go to https://www.projectpurple.org/about/