Brian “Boomer” Cover learned about the harsh realities of Pancreatic Cancer at a young age. Jim Cover, Boomer’s father, was diagnosed with stage IV Pancreatic Cancer in February of 2007. Boomer was only 22 when he found out that his dad had cancer. He was young and somewhat naïve about what this particular diagnosis meant for his father and their whole family. Boomer thought that his dad would undergo treatment and be fine. It was only when he googled Pancreatic Cancer that he saw the shocking statistics and learned that his father had a terminal illness. Boomer was devastated to learn that he was going to lose the father he loved and looked up to as a role model.
The time around his father’s diagnosis was a tough one for Boomer. Neither of his brothers lived in the same city as Boomer and his father. He found it very difficult to watch how the cancer tore his father’s body apart on a daily basis. Boomer says that what kept his family together during this difficult time was his father, Jim. Jim fought the cancer as hard as he could, but eventually there was medically nothing more that could be done. Jim was at peace with the hand he had been dealt. Knowing that his father was at peace is what helped Boomer accept his illness. Jim Cover worked in his dental practice up until a week before he passed away.
Boomer speaks of his father in glowing terms. He says, “He was the best dad in the world. He supported us in whatever we wanted to do.” Jim Cover was also a caring and compassionate professional. He would go into the office on evenings and weekends if his patients had an emergency. He took time out of his schedule to coach baseball. Boomer remembers his parents’ relationship as close and loving. He says, “They were best friends who did everything together. They set an example for the rest of us.”
Boomer was a young adult when he lost his father. It became a mission for him to find ways to honor the man that he loved and admired. Boomer has kept his father’s memory alive, and helped contribute to Pancreatic Cancer research by organizing a golf tournament in his father’s honor and by running for Project Purple.
Boomer describes himself as a “terrible” golfer, but he started the “Doc Cover Golf Classic” in Pueblo, CO because his father loved to golf. The tournament started off as Boomer’s way of getting his dad’s friends and family together to celebrate his father’s life. This year will be the fifth year of the tournament, and it has grown substantially over the years. Each year, Boomer dedicates the tournament to a member of the community who has been impacted by Pancreatic Cancer.
While Boomer has been dedicated to the honoring his father through the annual golf tournament, he did not stop there. He decided to use his own athletic background to find other ways to make a difference. Boomer was a competitive swimmer in high school, who dabbled in running as a way of cross training. His swim coach had encouraged the team to run for fitness, so Boomer did some workouts with the cross-country team. As an adult, running became a more routine part of Boomer’s life. While he was dealing with his father’s illness, running gave him time to reflect and think. Boomer says, “Running was my time to think and really evaluate what I am doing in my life. My dad always came into my mind when I was running.”
Boomer had run several 5ks and 10ks, but he was ready to take his running to the next level. After watching his brother complete an Ironman, Boomer was motivated to tackle the marathon. He completed the Denver Rock and Roll Marathon in 2013 and enjoyed the race. Still, Boomer felt like he could get more out of the marathon experience by giving purpose to his run. He had heard about Project Purple from a friend who lived in Nebraska. He had looked into joining the team to run the Lincoln half-marathon, but he did not know if he could fit the travel into his schedule. However, Project Purple had recently introduced their Pioneer Program which allows people to run for Project Purple at any race of their choosing. So Boomer signed on to run the Colfax Marathon in 2014.
Boomer says that leading up to Colfax, his training was perhaps not the best and he had not followed a set training plan. His best memory from the race was reaching mile 18 and seeing his family. They had signs that said, “Just remember the reasons that you are running!” The word “remember” was spelled out in purple. That gave him the boost he needed to make it to the finish line.
Boomer found the Colfax Marathon to be such a gratifying challenge for him that he signed up to be part of Project Purple’s Marine Corps Marathon team. Boomer attended the Project Purple dinner the night before the marathon. He remembers meeting the other families who had been affected by Pancreatic and how intensely emotional that experience was for him. He specifically remembered meeting two young girls who had each lost family members within the month or two leading up to the marathon. Boomer was so inspired by them running so soon after suffering their losses, because he was not sure that he would have been able to do it. Hearing their stories and seeing their dedication to their loved ones was very moving for Boomer.
The Marine Corps Marathon was inspirational from start to finish. Boomer loved being out on the course with thousands of other runners. Big city marathons have an air of energy and excitement about them. Thousands of spectators lined the course, cheering the runners on. Perhaps the highlight of the race for Boomer was seeing the throngs of cheering Marines who lined up along the stretch that led to the finish line. That scene is a memory he will never forget.
This year, as Boomer leads his golf tournament, he remembers his dad for being an amazing father and a generous human being who gave to so many in the community. He was a compassionate and caring professional who loved spending his free time coaching youth sports. Boomer honors his father through his running and his golf tournament because he remembers how Pancreatic Cancer cruelly took his dad much too soon. Boomer hopes that by helping to raise funds and awareness, a cure for this illness can be found in the near future.
Note: The Doc Cover Golf Classic will be held on June 6th, 2015 in Pueblo, CO at the Elmwood Golf Course. For more information, please contact Boomer Cover at email@example.com
You can support Boomer’s fundraising efforts at his Crowdrise Page: