GERMANTOWN HILLS (HOI) — Imagine finding out you have stage-three colon cancer.
You go through months of chemotherapy and that cancer goes into remission. This is Michael Brown’s story.
His family never expected the cancer to come back almost four years later, even worse than before. But, Michael said it was time to get busy living.
“At that point, we were thinking we need to do something,” said Michael’s wife Angie. “We need to do something to raise money because there needs to be research done on this type of colon cancer and it just wasn’t getting done.”
That is why they created the Michael P. Brown Colon Cancer Foundation and Run for Life Festival. But this year’s run took a turn, as Michael died in January. He was 35 years old.
When Michael died, Jaxson was nine years old and Karter was only six. Angie knows some kids don’t have the opportunity to grow up with a dad, so she’s happy the boys were able to share those years with him.
“You can choose to look at the bad or you can choose to think, man, we had a lot of good times with a good guy,” said Brown.
They have plenty of memories of projects around the house, so I asked the boys to take me on a tour.
“Right over here is all of our sports stuff and here’s some of the stuff that we’re getting ready for the race,” Karter said.
From bikes and basketballs to an awesome setup for baseball…
“Right over here is the batting cage and the batting machine is under that,” said Jaxson.
Michael also helped them start a garden. “We have a bunch of cucumbers. We picked three today and there’s a bunch of little ones inside here.”
Usually colon cancer spreads to your liver and lungs, but that wasn’t the case for Michael.
“This type of colon cancer spreads into the peritoneal area – so the abdominal area – and it coats the organs. It’s like taking a bag of ice and dumping it in the abdomen and you have all of these little spots of cancer and it just coats everything like a thin sheet,” Angie explained.
It doesn’t show up very very well on MRI or CT scans until the cancer has grown significantly inside the abdomen. Less than one percent of all colon cancer patients have signet ring.
“It’s not a very big group, but it’s growing. I mean a lot of people are starting to reach out and really try to help each other find out where to go.”
Angie hopes to see a center of excellence created at the UH Seidman Cancer Center in Cleveland, Ohio. She says the Michael P. Brown Foundation has already donated $255,000 to the Center.
And the boys couldn’t be happier with the legacy Michael left behind.
“My dad’s favorite place in the whole wide world is with me,” Jaxson said.
As he’ll always be there with them, running through life one day at a time.
There is still time left to sign up for the sixth annual race Saturday night. If you aren’t a fan of running, you can still stop by to see The NATU Band and country star Drew Baldridge perform at the festival. Race registration and festival details can be found here.