A Marian High School senior is striking back against cancer after the disease took away her favorite sport and nearly cost her a limb. Now, she’s calling on you to help in her mission to put an end to pediatric cancer.
“Nice job ladies, keep it up!” Marian’s cross-country coach called out as the team hit the course. It’s the heart of the group’s 2017 season, with their biggest fan rooting from the sidelines.
“I tried it my freshman year and fell in love with it,” 17-year-old Kyleigh Gall said. She spent her first two years of high school as a distance runner before a startling diagnosis brought it to a stop.
“We did an X-ray of my full leg,” she remembered. “That’s when the doctor said we found a mass behind your right thigh.”
The diagnosis was cancer, a relatively rare form called undifferentiated sarcoma. Doctors told her the tumor was right on her hamstring, completely wrapped around Kyleigh’s sciatic nerve. The Gall family feared for the worst.
“Why Kyleigh, why our family?” her mother Gretchen remembered asking. “Why this? Why junior year, why in her leg?”
“When this whole thing hit,” Kyleigh’s father Bryan added, “it hit home the importance, to me, of faith, No. 1, friends and family.”
Chemotherapy, radiation and surgery were successful, but the treatment came at a cost. Nerve damage forced the high schooler to wear a walking brace, meaning no more track, cross country or running.
“Now I’m the team manager for cross country to still stay involved,” Kyleigh said. She’s also involved with beating cancer. The senior and her family are organizing a fundraising race to help other pediatric cancer patients during their battle.
“Hearing someone cheering for you, helping you get to the finish line, that’s the best part,” Kyleigh said.
The Monster Dash fundraiser is set to raise money for pediatric cancer research and Angels Among Us. The event is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 29 at 8:30 a.m. Click here for more information and the race entry form.