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The Chargois Brothers' Story

Kirk and Damon Chargois after running for Team AICR at the 2006

Kirk and Damon Chargois

In the summer of 2006, two brothers from Texas decided to join Team AICR and run the Marine Corps Marathon in the coming fall. It would be their very first marathon.

Kirk agreed to share his story in his own words:

“In August of 1991, my siblings and I lost our mother to lung cancer. She was only 53 years old. I cannot explain to those who have not experienced it how painful it is, but to watch your own mother waste away is something no one should ever have to deal with.

One month after burying my mother, at my darkest point, a family friend introduced me to her sister Pamela. The match was a good one and over the next year-and-a-half I fell deeply in love. On New Years Day 1993, I asked Pamela to be my wife and she accepted. We began wedding plans for an October 16th wedding.

In February of 1993, Pamela had trouble keeping her breath and a nagging cough. She went to several doctors who diagnosed flue-like symptoms before one finally ordered a chest X-ray. This revealed a large mass, about as big as a cantaloupe, between her heart and her sternum. The doctors finally diagnosed Pamela with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma . . . cancer!

It was very scary. Pamela was wasting away. Her weight went from 115 pounds down to 85 pounds. She was only 23 years old. Pamela went through two rounds of chemotherapy with all the usual side effects. But she was getting better! Upon the completion of her first chemotherapy treatment, Pam’s tumor had shrunk to 50% of its original size. After the second round of chemo, it shrank another 30%! After more than two months in the hospital she began radiation treatment as an outpatient.

Pam and I got married as planned, on October 16th. It was a very emotional ceremony to say the least, and we looked forward to our lives together. Because of her treatments, the doctors warned us that we would probably never be able to have children. Well, lo and behold we got pregnant! We were blessed with a beautiful (and healthy) baby girl, Camille, who we brought home on Christmas Day. She was followed a year-and-a-half later by her brother, Cameron, on May 11, 1999.

As I write this, it has been 13 years since Pamela and I got married. Pamela is cancer free through her faith, and by the dedication, science and research devoted to cancer.

I am proud to tell people of my experiences because they let us know that just because there is a diagnosis of cancer, it does not equate to a death sentence. We can end cancer in our lifetime; I sincerely believe that. We must all focus on this effort.”

On October 27, 2006 Kirk and Damon completed the Marine Corps Marathon in memory of their mother and in honor of Kirk’s wife. AICR is grateful for the Chargois brothers' support, and for the extraordinary efforts of all Team AICR members.

If you are interested in running a marathon or participating in another type of event to help raise funds and awareness with Team AICR, please contact Katy at events@aicr.org.

 
 
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