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June 1 was always a sad day for Kim Fizzell. Each year, it marks the anniversary of her daughter’s funeral. This year, on this difficult day, Kim accomplished two things she never thought possible; she hiked 28.3 miles on the Foothills Trail in just one day and found a new way to create positive memories on such a difficult day. The road that lead Kim to Ultimate Hike was long and hard, but the Hike reminded her that there is hope in the fight against children's cancer.
Kim's daughter, Kalen, was 10-years-old when she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. While she went into remission, she developed leukemia as a result of the medication used to treat for the osteosarcoma. While in the hospital for a bone marrow transplant to treat the leukemia, Kalen developed a rare fungal infection, and passed away on May 27, 2008. She was just 14.
Kalen was an amazing little girl and a natural pastry chef. She was so talented; she'd been in charge of baking every family member's birthday cakes since she was very young. She dreamed of owning her own pastry shop, called Kalen's Sweet Miracles, and was even developing a business plan as she prepared for her bone marrow transplant.
After her death, Kim spent each anniversary remembering her daughter's incredible spirit, but felt that she should do something more. As the fifth anniversary of her passing got closer, Kim decided to find a way to raise awareness for children with cancer while honoring the memory of her daughter.
"When I think of all the things that Kalen had been through and her incredible spirit through it all, I knew I had to do something," says Kim. "She never complained throughout treatment. She never complained of pain. When her doctors would walk in to her room, she always had such a big smile on her face. I wanted to do something of endurance, to challenge myself for her."
So on June 1, she did just that. Kim and 26 other hikers completed the 28.3 mile hike and took a stand against children's cancer. As Kim crossed the finish line, she was reminded of what children undergoing treatment deal with, and how even the Ultimate Hike doesn't come close. She's already training for her next Ultimate Hike and is ready to take the challenge.
To learn more about the Ultimate Hike, visit www.UltimateHike.org.
Christine BorkEmail Christine(800) 458-6223