Dom Update …. Keep Getting Back Up.

Posted: April 2, 2010 in Training
Tags: , ,

Life can just be cruel sometimes.  I have no better explanation for it than that. 

For those of you who have been following along since the launch of this blog back in November you know that I am training and running for a cause.  The cause is my good friend Dom who still a very young man at 39 years old is in for the fight of his life.  He has been in an everyday cancer battle since late August going through multiple rounds of chemotherapy (6), a very aggressive surgery to remove his stomach, spleen and portions of other organs all in the effort to beat this thing and spend a long life with his wife Val, son Nico (9 months) and Daughter Sierra (4 yrs. old). 

Dom Post Surgery

He’s gone through all the treatments, surgery and procedures while getting almost all of his nutrition via a feeding tube since December.   I am so proud to say that Dom has stood tall throughout.  Through multiple hospital stays, countless nights lying awake when there was no escape from the discomfort, all the while never complaining.  No woe is me.  Unwavering.  Unbelievable. 

Just last week things seemed to be moving along very well with Dom’s recovery.  He was returning to work, continuing to gain strength and being able to eat a little bit more on his own.  Onward and upward it appeared as we were all looking forward to race day on May 2nd at Pittsburgh.  That Sunday, now just a little more than 4 weeks away, when we would be able to put the second of back to back marathons in the books and celebrate a bit.  Take a brief moment to reaffirm what life is all about and – enjoy

Well just when you think you have this life thing all figured out it has a funny way of knocking you down. 

While I was traveling this week through Buffalo, NY and Canada I got a call from my wife that Dom was once again back in the hospital.  This time a blockage in his newly designed digestive system sans stomach was acting up and Dom is once again fighting the good fight, standing tall and battling.  As I write this Dom’s Doctors are still searching for answers unsure of what the problem is.  Dom now has a Colon Stent added to his list of procedures to help relieve the blockage and symptoms while his Doctors search for the cause of this latest issue. 


A lot of people have reached out to me over the last few months with their stories about how they are motivated by what I am doing to help a good friend.  They have opened their hearts, opened their arms and in fact many have opened their wallets and checkbooks to help make a difference.  As of today we are closing in right now on $10,000 raised to help Dom and his family. 

To me that is incredible.  I am so touched each and every time a gift notification hits my e-mail box as I know that someone is helping make a difference in a precious life.  The fact of the matter is that the world is simply a better place with Dominic D’Eramo, Jr. in it.  I look forward to the day that I am an out of shape former marathoner, old and grey, sitting with my yet to be born child telling them about how I once ran two marathons in two weeks for their favorite Uncle Dom.  The same Uncle Dom they still see at Christmas time. 

Even though Dawn and I will be having just our first child in September, I know how kids are.  He or She won’t believe a word I say and tell me that I’m exaggerating.    If not for those finisher’s medals I’m sure they would think I just ran a 5K once and took home only a race t-shirt.  That’s O.K., it will be the same way I used to think my Dad had it much easier than he told me he did growing up, working for his father and building a life and a family.  I’ll know though.  I’ll remember just how hard this was on everyone and how tough a battle it was.  

Just when I caught myself questioning things this week – starting to ask the question I know has no answer – “Why does this have to be so damn difficult” I got an innocent e-mail from a first-time half marathoner in Cincinnati Ohio, Brian Cass.  Brian will be running his first half in Pittsburgh on May 2nd at the same time I will be running my second marathon in 13 days for Dom.  In fact Brian and I will be running the first 12 miles along the very same route until the two race courses split. 

The Pittsburgh Marathon is doing something very cool this year for its runners, where you can request a personalized bib.  Instead of just a number – you can ask the race directors to put a name on your bib up to 9 characters in length.  This is great for runners as hearing an encouraging Go Joe! or Go Cocks! Can really make a big difference to tired legs over the latter stages of a race. 

Well, Brian reached out to me asking for my permission to have RUN 4 DOM placed on his bib.  The request floored me. 

Brian Cass - RUN 4 DOM

Here is a young man running his first major footrace of any kind, racing a distance he has never run before.  Instead of running to encouraging cheers of GO BRIAN!  He asked to represent Run for Dom.  When I asked Brian if he was sure this is what he wanted to do his response was: 

Joe – It’s a done deal. I’ll be proudly wearing RUN 4 DOM on my bib. While someone yelling “Go Brian!” would be alright, hearing “Run for Dom!” will be even better!  If it weren’t for you and RunForDom, I wouldn’t be running the half at Pittsburgh.  As rivalries run strong, many Cincinnatians have asked “Why Pittsburgh and not the Flying Pig here in Cincinnati?” Fair question considering both races are on May 2nd. 

 Your passion in taking on this amazing cause, me making a gift, you inviting me to join the festivities in Pittsburgh, and ultimately me deciding to not only sponsor mile 11, but run mile 11 is always the answer to that question; so RUN 4 DOM makes sense! 

Brian had no idea that I was running with Run for Dom on my bib.  I was so moved by his gesture I called the Pittsburgh Marathon Race Director to make sure the spelling on our bibs was identical.  In a show of solidarity we’ll both be hearing shouts of Go RUN 4 DOM! in Pittsburgh. 

Brian, not only do I want to formally thank you for sponsoring Mile 11, I want to thank you for your gesture and especially the timing of it.  Just when that question of “Why does this have to be so damn difficult” started rearing it’s ugly head once again – you provided me with great clarity and vision. 

It’s not about life knocking you down.  That happens to everybody. 

It’s about what you do after you get knocked down. 

It’s about getting up, getting up and getting back up again.  That’s what this is all about:

Kicking Cancer’s Ass 26.2 Miles at a Time! 

So bring it on Boston.  Bring it on Pittsburgh.  Bring on the hills, the wind, the fatigue and the pain.  Bring on Heartbreak Hill.  Bring on the Climb up Forbes.  Go ahead, try and knock me down.  You might even succeed a couple of times. 

But keeping me down?  Not a chance in hell. 

Hang in there Dom.  You are the man. 

If you are interested in helping the cause or becoming one of our going the extra mile sponsors – please feel free to click on the link below or visit our How You Can Help area on the right hand side of the blog.

  1. leslieg says:

    Praying for Dom and his family…

    • joerunfordom says:

      Leslie – thanks so much for the kind words and prayers – you have been such a great supporter throughout – that really means a lot to me. Take good care! Joe

  2. David Robert Cass says:

    I am so proud. in the proper sense, of both of you. Joe I thank you for helping Brian in this great endeavor, and I am proud of both of you for the dedication to Dom. We are watching and we are cheering. We look forward to a hard fought victory for all three of you. How important it is to support our friends and live outside the little box of me.

    • joerunfordom says:

      David – thanks so much for the visit and the kind words – you raised a wonderful family and Brian is an amazing young man. I can hardly wait to hear of Brian’s experience at Pittsburgh and see his race finish photos. Unfortunately, I’ll still have a little work left to do that day when he is wraping up – but I’ll try not to make everyone wait to long for post-race breakfast!

      Thanks again David for your family’s support of the cause! You guys are the greatest. Best, Joe

  3. onelittlejill says:

    I know I don’t have to keep repeating myself, but seriously you are an inspiration Joe. And Dom is beyond words. And now Brian…this is what Pay it Foward is all about!

    Recently, I have been injured. Not working out has taken its toll but I am trying hard to stay positive. Every time I read your blog, I reminded of how lucky I am.

    Perspective is everything; I was just reading an article in my RW today about a woman who instead of saying “I have to….” says, “I am so lucky to…” and I feel like Dom lives the same way. He embraces every moment. I hope, that in some way, I can be as much of an inspiration to someone as you and Dom are to me.

    • joerunfordom says:

      Jill – thanks so much for all the support and kind words – you really are the best. I always feel like it is a shame that sometimes it takes having things taken away from me to make me appreciate them as much as I always should.

      Those weeks without running this winter were really difficult – and now when a run gets hard I just draw on that and remember just how much I love to be out there – and how much I miss it when I can’t. It really does make all the difference in the world. Maybe that is why we all get tested so often. Just for that very perspective.

      Thanks again for all you have done to keep me motivated throughout this training and all your support – you are a great friend. I really hope that injury is behind you in short order. We need you out there running!

      Best, J

  4. Lara says:

    My thoughts are still with you and Dom, and I know he’ll come out of this one too. Steady on…

    Prayers from Colorado,

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