Sometimes, in the blink of an eye, life takes a sudden turn. And so it did on Sept. 1, 2011, when my brother, Scott, was admitted to the hospital after an MRI found a tumor in his back. A CAT scan the next day revealed more troubling news, more tumors.
Someone who routinely ran 100 miles a month was now confined to a hospital bed, barely able to move without experiencing severe pain. Just four months prior, Scott was at his athletic peak, completing his very first marathon in Cincinnati, finishing in an astounding 3:45. Little did we know that, in all likelihood, he completed those 26.2 miles while in the early stages of lung cancer. Scott's inner drive and determination while running were undeniable, and we felt that those traits could push him over the top in this battle.
While there were setbacks, Scott persevered. However, for every step forward, lung cancer forced him two steps back. It was a hill he could not climb, and he lost his battle just days before Christmas at the age of 26.
Having never smoked in his life, how could lung cancer have stricken Scott? Sadly, doctors were never able to give us any answers. Now, my family will continue to battle the disease that prematurely took Scott's life. We have set up the Scott A. Garet Memorial Foundation and have also organized the Flying Monkey 5K Run/Walk, both in support of raised awareness and funds for lung cancer research.
Through these efforts, we have been able to meet many wonderful individuals, including those at the American Lung Association. Their desire to bring attention to lung disease has given us strength in knowing we are not alone. Others are battling with us, fighting to shed light on this topic.
As the years progress, we will continue to spread Scott's story. His memory will live on. Lung cancer does not just impact smokers. Something needs to be done, and I, along with my family, will continue Scott's fight. He would do the same for us.