Kim Lindsay warmly remembers her mom, Dixie Wilkinson, as “The best mom and grandma in the world.” Kim explains, “She was just always there for us. She was always there for my kids. She loved to dance. She was always happy and would do anything for anybody. She worked hard and had a lot of fun. We text messaged or called each other pretty much every day. She was just an amazing person. ” In 2013, Kim Lindsay lost her beloved mother to Pancreatic Cancer. Kim will be running the Denver Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in October with the Project Purple team to honor her mom.
Dixie Wilkinson began experiencing stomach pains in 2011. She repeatedly went to the doctor seeking help for her discomfort. Time and time again, she was told that they could not find anything wrong with her. Finally, she talked a doctor into ordering a CT scan. A large tumor was discovered in the tail of her pancreas. Unfortunately, it had already spread beyond her pancreas, and there was little the doctors could do for her.
It was June of 2012 when Dixie and her family learned that she had Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer. Kim’s older sister Otsalee suggested that the family look into clinical trials. The family found a clinical trial in Denver, CO, close to Kim and Dixie’s hometown of Colorado Springs. Dixie started the trial in August of 2012. She was a month away from retiring from her job at Pikes Peak Community College, where she had worked for 25 years. She had planned to enjoy her retirement surrounded by her family. Instead, she travelled to Denver every Tuesday with Kim or her younger sister Paige so that she could receive her cancer treatments. During this difficult time, Paige was the constant in their mom’s care. She travelled to Denver with Dixie for her treatments and stayed with her during the day. Kim often took over the night shift while their mom was ill.
Sadly, the trial was not a success for Dixie. Her cancer continued to march throughout her body and by November of 2012, she had to be removed from the trial. In December, she began palliative care in an attempt to help relieve the extreme pain that she was experiencing. Kim’s sister, Otsalee, brought Dixie to live with her in Kansas for a few months. By March, Dixie returned to her home in Colorado Springs. Shortly thereafter, her condition deteriorated rapidly. Kim and her younger sister, Paige, did all they could to tend to their mom’s needs, but they needed additional help. The family brought in hospice to help with Dixie’s care. Kim remembers how even though she was in intense pain, her mother had become afraid of seeking medical help. “Mom was afraid that if she went to the hospital, that she would never get out. We brought hospice in and they were amazing. A nurse came to the house a couple of times per week and she was wonderful,” Kim explains.
Dixie Wilkinson passed away on April 18th, 2013, less than a year after receiving her pancreatic cancer diagnosis. Kim reflects on her mother’s battle. “She was a fighter. She was not going to allow herself to die from Pancreatic Cancer. She fought up until the very last day of her life. She inspired me, and I just miss her”, Kim explains.
Dixie was a woman who wanted to fully live and enjoy what life had to offer. When she was going through chemotherapy, Kim, Paige and their children had decided to do a mud run. Her mom insisted on joining them at the mud run, even though she had a chemo port and was battling cancer. It was this fighting spirit that inspired Kim to want to challenge herself personally while making a difference for the disease that took her mother from her. Kim says, “I am frustrated with Pancreatic Cancer. My mom was only in her sixties when she passed away from Pancreatic Cancer. The women in our family usually live into their 90s.” Kim feels that the lack of progress in Pancreatic Cancer research is unacceptable. Over two years after losing her mom, the pain is still very raw. She knew that she wanted to help in some way, but she was not yet sure how to go about it.
Kim became a runner when she was in high school. She grew up in a military family and moved all around the world as a child, finally settling in Colorado Springs, CO in 1982. Kim joined the cross-country team during her freshman year. After that, she continued running but not as part of an organized team. She found that when she ran, she could just let her mind wander. For Kim, running was the best way for her to alleviate stress and think things through.
Kim ran much of her adult life and participated in several 5ks. She became more serious about training and racing in 2011 when a friend suggested that they run a half-marathon. Since the half-marathon, Kim has been very active in the local running community. She participates in several of the races that the local Pikes Peak Road Runners Club puts together. Kim enjoys racing and says, “It is a blast and I meet a lot of really cool people.”
Kim was first introduced to Project Purple when she and Paige signed on to Tonia’s Run 5k, which benefitted the charity.
She knew she wanted to do more to help find a cure for Pancreatic Cancer, so after some soul-searching, she decided that she would sign up with the Project Purple Denver Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon team and run her first full marathon. Kim explains her decision, “This cancer frustrates me so much. It is so underfunded and I do not want other families to go through what ours went through. It was horrible. We need early detection. There are too many young people being diagnosed with it.”
Kim is a married mother of two who works in the athletic department at Rampart High school.
Though she juggles a lot in her busy life, she is happy to be a part of the Project Purple team. She is following her training schedule and is participating in group training runs. Come October, Kim will don her purple running clothes and will be ready to run in her first marathon. She ways, “After all of the pain my mom went through, what I will go through is nothing.”
Please support Kim’s fundraising campaign by donating at the link below: