When the cancer diagnosis came in May 2013, Brittany and I had been dating just over a year. I had eight rounds of AVBD chemotherapy treatment every other week followed by radiation five days a week for one month. Throughout treatment, I clung to my relationship with Christ, His Word, and the slogan God had given me – Always Endure. The Lord graciously provided everything I needed during this season, even enabling me to be debt free after treatment ended.
Working at the Downtown Rescue Mission, I had begun a benefit 5k run in 2011 to raise funds for the homeless in our care. The Lord combined the knowledge I gained from being a race director and our desire to bless others battling cancer in 2015. The 1st Annual Always Endure 5k run kicked off a brand new community event, the Slawburger Festival, and raised $$$ for the Multi-County Cancer Support Network.
In 2016, the 2nd Annual Always Endure 5k raised funds for Christina Fulkerson, a local teenager diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in September 2015. The race raised $5,791.20 for Christina and her family.
In 2017, the 3rd Annual Always Endure 5k’s beneficiary was Arlie Wolfe, a young girl diagnosed with leukemia (Pre B ALL) in June 2016. The race raised $9,000.00 for Arlie and her family.
Since the amounts we were gifting were increasing each year, we were encouraged to make Always Endure an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We applied and everything became official in July 2017.
We announced that the Lord had led us to adoption after years of infertility and three consecutive miscarriages (and five babies in Heaven) in September 2017. Our community began to pour out support as Brittany and I raised the needed funds to adopt.
In 2018, the 4th Annual Always Endure 5k had two beneficiaries – Diane Bell and Arlie Wolfe. Diane was diagnosed with a form of leukemia in fall 2017. In January 2018, blasts were found in Arlie’s blood work. A bone marrow biopsy the next day confirmed that Arlie had relapsed. The race raised $9,328.52 for Bell family AND $2,378.56 for Arlie and her family after relapse.
In a way that only God could work, we were chosen to adopt our daughter from California in August 2018. In less than 24 hours, we had all of the money needed for the adoption and travel/living expenses for three weeks in CA.
In 2019, the 5th Annual Always Endure 5k also had two beneficiaries – Travis Creasy and Jax Cannon. Travis was diagnosed in October 2018 with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia. Jax was two years old when he had two brain tumors. The race raised $10,000.00 for the Creasy family and $2,500.00 for the Cannon family.
We decided to expand our reach as a nonprofit to include financial and prayer support for families fundraising for adoption in summer 2019. Bella’s adoption also finalized a few weeks after she turned one year old. Our first event to support families pursuing adoption will take place the 2nd Saturday in November 2020.