When Boomer Cover lost his father Jim ‘Doc’ Cover to pancreatic cancer, his life was changed forever. While the loss was deeply traumatizing, Boomer dedicated himself to finding ways to honor his father’s life and make a difference for others who have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. First, he started a charity golf tournament in his father’s name. Next, he signed on to run the Colfax Marathon with the Project Purple Pioneer Program. After running the Chicago Marathon with Project Purple, he convinced his girlfriend, Felicia Minson, to join him at the Denver Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. Now, he has persuaded his brother Kevin Cover to join Project Purple, too. Kevin, Felicia and Boomer are running as a Project Purple fundraising team at the 2016 Chicago Marathon.
Doc Cover is Diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer
“We were at a wedding in Chicago in December of 2006 when I remember my dad complaining of back pain. This was odd because the guy never complained about anything, especially back pain,” Kevin recalls. When the pain had not subsided by January, 2007, Doc decided to see their family physician. “I vividly remember him sitting me down to tell me the news, but I was so naïve that I suppose I didn’t realize the seriousness of the situation. Maybe I didn’t really want to know how serious it was.”
Kevin remembers the moment when he knew how ill his father truly was. Doc’s pain had continued to grow worse over time. As he packed for a trip to see a specialist, Kevin saw him literally fell to his knees in agony. “I had never seen anything like this from my dad and at that point I realized how bad it was.”
Kevin was just 20 years old when his father passed away from pancreatic cancer. Despite the sadness of losing his father, Kevin chooses to focus on the positive. “The way I see it, I am extremely lucky to have had him in my life for as long as I did. Some folks grow up without a dad and others don’t have great relationships with their fathers. I consider myself very fortunate despite losing him earlier than I had ever expected. I had the best role model for 20 years, so you won’t hear me complaining about it.”
Both Kevin and Boomer remember their father spending hours practicing baseball with them. Kevin says, “He spent so many hours throwing me batting practice, hitting me ground balls, catching my bullpens and even running routes for me on two bad knees. He was always willing to come home from work and help me with whatever I wanted to work on that day regardless of how long his day had been.” He remembers their drives to and from athletic events as a time when they engaged in meaningful conversation and enjoyed listening to music together.
Most importantly, Kevin remembers his father for being a good human being. “He was always giving and he treated people like gold. He set a standard for me that I’m still trying to live up to. I will forever be in debt to him for setting such a great example on how to treat people.”
The Impact of Losing His Dad
Although Kevin now is able to focus on what he had instead of what he has missed out on, losing his father at a young age was not easy. He was attending college out of state when his dad passed away. Returning to school after his father’s death was the hardest thing he has ever done. “I can remember arriving at my apartment after driving back and literally breaking down into tears. I have never cried like that before or since. That was the loneliest I have ever felt in my life.” Kevin learned to deal with the difficulties in life by asking himself how his father would have handled certain situations. “I find myself just trying to make my dad proud and that usually points me in the right direction.
Kevin Joins Project Purple
Boomer did not have to do much to convince Kevin to join the Project Purple team. Kevin says, “I’ve always enjoyed running. I haven’t ever been the fastest, but I enjoy the peace and suffering that come with it.” After college, Kevin took up triathlons. He has now completed four Ironman distance triathlons. He has also finished one marathon outside of a triathlon.
When Boomer broached the topic of running the Chicago Marathon, Kevin was pleased to have the opportunity to join the team. They chose to run the Chicago Marathon specifically because the city has special meaning for their family. They have a lot of extended family in Chicago and their parents lived in the city while their dad attended dental school.
Running with Purpose
Kevin is thrilled to have the opportunity to run with Boomer and Felicia for Project Purple. “I can’t tell you how excited I am to be running this marathon with my brother and his girlfriend, Felicia. I feel like my brothers and I have gotten a lot closer over the last couple of years and this will just be a great experience being able to run with him.”
Running with Project Purple brings extra meaning for Kevin to his training and racing. “It’s always fun to be part of a team, but it is truly an honor to be running with a team of people that are so passionate about beating this disease. It is special to be part of a team where everyone has the same goal in mind. I am humbled by the kindness and passion of everyone on my team. My hope is to uphold the standard set by those within the organization by running as hard as I can come race day.”
Please make a donation to the Cover team’s Project Purple fundraiser at the following link:
To read more about Boomer, click here:
To read more about Felicia, click here: