CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Sept. 27, 2018) – In the spring, Lindsey Daniels was eagerly looking toward Sept. 29, the day of the Rock/Creek “Stump Jump,” the Southeast’s premier 50K trail race held atop Signal Mountain and Walden Ridge. Just as her training was commencing, though, she received some news that stopped her in her tracks, albeit temporarily.
Her 9-year-old son Gabe had been diagnosed with a brain tumor.
“My world was turned upside down,” she said. “Training for the Stump Jump took a backseat.”
Another stoppage involved long-awaited summer camp plans for Gabe, who is known lovingly as “The Gabester.” Again, this proved temporary, thanks to the availability of a camp at the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer’s Education Advancement Center in downtown Chattanooga.
“Gabe’s spirits were immediately lifted,” Daniels said. “He got to spend a week with new friends, doing ‘normal kid’ stuff. He was excited to go back to camp each day. Since his diagnosis, Gabe’s activities and interaction with friends has been limited; the camp such a boost … and one he really needed.
“The camp was wonderful. It offered some normalcy. It gave Gabe some time when he didn’t feel so alone.”
Inspired by her son’s courageous approach and his attitude during treatments, Daniels renewed her commitment to training for Saturday’s Stump Jump. She considered withdrawing from the race but, “Gabe motivated me to stick with it and run the race.”
And stick with it she did, admirably, determined to honor her son’s cancer fight by joining thousands of other runners at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, at Shackleford Ridge County Park on Signal Mountain in Chattanooga. (Note: an accompanying 10-mile run starts at 8:30.)
Unfortunately, Gabe’s condition has recently started requiring additional, intensive treatments. The situation derailed his mother’s Stump Jump training regimen but she will have a group of friends proudly running in her place – and in Gabe’s honor. Also, a large contingent of Austin Hatcher Foundation staff and supporters will attend the race to cheer on those most important friends.
“I didn’t know about the Foundation [before Gabe’s illness],” Daniels said. “Now, I want to help bring some more awareness to what they’re doing.”
Gabe and his mother won’t be at the Stump Jump on Saturday. They will be out of town, enjoying his mother’s birthday, but also preparing for another round of treatments starting next week.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Lindsay and Gabe now and will continue to be, in the coming days,” said Austin Hatcher Foundation President Amy Jo Osborn. “We are honored to have them as part of our extended ‘family’ at the Foundation.”
Donations to support Gabe Daniels’ fight against cancer – and to support other Austin Hatcher Foundation programs and services – can be made here: DONATE IN HONOR OF GABE