At the age of 59, my father-Denny Neely, lost his valiant battle against cancer. In January 2008 he was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic melanoma. An eight centimeter tumor was found situated between his aorta, stomach and pancreas- survival on average with this diagnosis is 3 months. My father began clinical trials with some of the best doctors at the Hillman Cancer Institute in Pittsburgh. An uphill battle from the start and through many setbacks; my father remained optimistic, never gave up hope and promised to fight this disease all the way to the end. On July 3rd of 2009, 18 months into the fight, the tumor had grown, multiplied, attached, and attacked his vital organs. As he lay in his hospice bed, seeing in all of our faces that he was near the end, he challenged all of us in the room to a fifty mile race. The room laughed because we knew he was serious. Here’s a man that at this point could barely walk, could barely talk calling his shot like a thin, frail, Babe Ruth. My dad was always challenging us to dig a little deeper in the storehouse, in the gut, in the desire to achieve. So we would like to now challenge all of you to a fifty mile race in remembrance of my father and to raise money so hopefully we will one day find a cure for melanoma.
-Jodi Neely Wiley