Elk River (Part 3)

Rich Dixon takes us back to Elk River for more reflection.


As usual, God had a different plan when we met Kelley on Friday evening.

I talked about The Dream. The audience asked lots of questions about the bike, my injury, how we’d gotten to this point.

Then we were overwhelmed when Kelley shared a bit of her story.

In her early twenties she struggled through a tough battle with cancer. As she endured chemotherapy and radiation, Kelley talked to God about rearranging priorities regarding two issues.

When doctors offered gloomy predictions about a “low probability” of becoming pregnant, she accepted the reality that her desire for children might be fulfilled through adoption. But God…

Her physical capabilities had also changed. Prior to treatment her goal was to climb the “Colorado fourteeners,” the fifty-eight Colorado mountain peaks that exceed fourteen thousand feet. But the illness and treatment significantly limited her ability to breathe at high altitudes. For years she couldn’t run or even walk fast. But God…

When we met on Elk River Day, sixteen years after the treatments ended, Kelley had just completed her first duathlon (run-bike-run). She beat her “dream time” by more than fifteen minutes, inspired by a personal cheering section including her husband and the three young children to whom she gave birth.

Kelley’s concluding statement:

I sincerely hope I never have to battle cancer again, but I wouldn’t trade my cancer experience for the world, because of how close to God I became and how much I learned to trust Him and depend on Him. I do think he possibly allowed the cancer to happen to get my attention, and I’m thankful for that “wakeup call.” It rearranged my priorities. It was worth it for the relationship I now enjoy with Jesus.

I’m curious about your response to this remarkable declaration. As you might imagine, it’s an issue I’ve thought a bit about.

Next time.

To be continued…

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