Kristie Hall Runs Des Moines for Ranae

In December, 2015, Kristie Hall’s sister Ranae sought medical care for abdominal pains she was experiencing. Her doctor reassured her that it was just an ulcer and nothing more serious.  However, by the second week of January, her pain was so intense that it necessitated a return to her primary care doctor. He diagnosed her with pancreatitis, an extremely painful inflammation of the pancreas. Kristie’s family did not realize that this was just the beginning of a long and difficult medical nightmare.

Kristie & Ranae
Kristie & Ranae

Ranae is a single mother of three who works in a truck stop in Canton, South Dakota. Her 20-year-old son Skylar is the eldest and her daughter Jade is 19. Her youngest child is nine-year-old Kiana. In addition to working full-time, Ranae is extremely busy supporting Kiana as she swims, plays softball and participates in Tae Kwon Do. Kristie says, “Ranae is very strong-willed. She is tough and stubborn but has a soul for reaching out for others who may not be able to care for themselves.”

Ranae with her children
Ranae with her children

Kristie Stunned by Ranae’s Diagnosis

Ranae’s doctor quickly ordered a CT scan to verify his pancreatitis diagnosis. Ultimately, she was admitted to the hospital for a week-long stay to treat her illness. While she was in the hospital, the attending physician told her that her CT scan showed a mass on her pancreas that could potentially be cancerous. Unfortunately, they would not be able to biopsy the mass until her pancreatitis calmed down. The physicians wanted to delay the biopsy until March. Not one to simply accept what she is told, Ranae contacted the Mayo clinic.

During the second week of February, Ranae traveled to the Mayo clinic for her test. The medical team there reassured her that with her age and good health, they did not believe that her mass would turn out to be cancerous. After three days of testing, however, Ranae learned that she had stage III pancreatic cancer.

Ranae Begins Treatment for Pancreatic Cancer

Ranae was scheduled to begin aggressive chemotherapy treatments. Doctors hoped to shrink her tumor so that she might be eligible for surgery to remove the tumor. After her first chemotherapy infusion, however, she became jaundiced and her white blood cell count fell dangerously low. Ranae was readmitted to the hospital and ended up staying for another full week while the medical team attempted to stabilize her condition. During her stay, doctors placed a stent in her bile duct to open it up and alleviate her jaundice.

Ranae’s second chemotherapy treatment was delayed for ten days due to complications following her first infusion. Her liver levels never returned to normal, so the oncologist removed one of the drugs from her chemotherapy regimen.

Kristie's sister Renae

When Ranae returned for her fourth treatment, her white blood cell counts were low and her tumor markers had substantially increased. Fortunately, scans did not reveal any tumor growth. Ranae’s oncologist opted to skip her fourth chemo treatment and begin five weeks of radiation immediately. Her medical team is hoping radiation will shrink her tumor enough for the Whipple procedure.

Though Ranae is experiencing considerable pain, she is still able to eat. She spends most evenings trying to get enough fuel into her body to carry her through the next day.

Team Ranae
Team Ranae

Kristie Runs for Ranae

Kristie, a Software Application Analyst for Sanford Health, started running about seven years ago. Since that time, she has run several 5ks, a few 10ks and two half-marathons. She stopped running two years ago and the busy working mom has found it challenging to get started again. Kristie needed a way to motivate herself to train for her next race. Fortunately, she discovered Project Purple.

Kristie's family
Kristie’s family

When Kristie found Project Purple, she decided to join the Des Moines half-marathon team.  It is common for family members to feel helpless as they watch a loved one battle pancreatic cancer. Joining forces with Project Purple allows Kristie to take an active role in helping those who have been affected by pancreatic cancer while giving her incentive to run and take care of her own health. “Bringing my sister to her appointments and sitting in her hospital room with her, I knew that I could not just sit by and watch all of this happen.  I know that she is fighting hard and I want to do the same for her. I thought this organization had all of the characteristics of what I am looking to achieve.”

Kristie at a race
Kristie at a race

Please make a tax-deductible donation to Kristie’s Project Purple Des Moines Half-Marathon fundraiser at the following link:

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