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Tom's Story

a patient named Tom holding his young son

A Family History

Damon Kline lost his father to cancer, and is riding to find a cure through the Philadelphia Ride to Conquer Cancer. In this blog, he shares with us a glimpse into the life of his father, Tom, and why he's dedicated to supporting the Abramson Cancer Center.

My Dad, Tom Kline, was diagnosed with sarcoma in December of 2012. Throughout the year that followed, he underwent 300 hours of chemotherapy, a major surgery to remove his lung, months of radiation treatment, countless procedures, and more hospital stays than I can remember – all at Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center. Every day brought new obstacles and difficult decisions, which he met head on and without hesitation. Growing up, I always thought my Dad was the strongest, bravest, most fearless man in the world. Years later, as he ferociously battled a disease that weakened him physically, he still proved to be the bravest man I have ever known. He was, and forever will be, my hero.

My Dad lost a hard-fought fight with cancer this past January. He was just 54 years old. He left behind a loving wife, three devoted children, and 2 adoring granddaughters. He passed away just a few weeks before the birth of his third granddaughter and first grandson. He was an incredible family man, and I try every day to be the kind of father to my two children that he was to me, my brother, and my sister. With the support of my family, I will honor my Dad's legacy by participating in the Ride to Conquer Cancer this October.

Throughout the ups and downs of my Dad's illness, we never once heard any of his doctors say there was no hope or that there was nothing they could do. New obstacles or unforeseen setbacks were met with resolve, as they tried new methods and different approaches to cure him. The doctors at Penn were intensely dedicated to my Dad's treatment and care, and their determination helped give our family strength during a time of great uncertainty and fear. We are forever grateful to the incredible doctors at Penn who did everything they possibly could for our Dad until the very end.

I don't know if I will see a cure for cancer in my lifetime, but I am convinced that there are still great advances to be made in the treatment and prevention of cancer. With research, studies and trials from dedicated doctors like those at Penn Medicine, we can continue to diagnose patients earlier than ever before, to expand the available treatment options and to change the prognosis of cancer patients. Since February, we have raised over $11,000 for the Ride to Conquer Cancer and the Abramson Cancer Center. Funding like this will help fuel this much needed research.

Statistics say that one of my Dad's four grandchildren will develop cancer in their lifetime. This is our chance to help them now. After everything my family has been through, we feel a responsibility to do everything we can to help advance the progress of cancer treatment and prevention. I hope you will consider getting involved, either by riding or donating. Together, we can help spare someone else's family the pain caused by this terrible illness and preserve the memory of fathers like mine, who left this world too soon.

The Ride to Conquer Cancer®

Join Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center (ACC) on October 11 to 12, 2014 in the Ride to Conquer Cancer® (RTCC)—an unforgettable and epic bike ride through Pennsylvania's picturesque landscape -towards one life-changing destination: to cure cancer. The ride isn't just for cyclists, it's for anyone who wants to see a cure for cancer.

At two days and 150* miles the RTCC will be a physical challenge—an emotional and inspiring weekend—that will give you a chance to join forces with our physicians, patients, and families to leave everything on the bike course and raise serious funds and awareness in the ACC's fight to cure cancer.

The funds raised through the ride will be put to use immediately, powering the ACC's vision to eradicate cancer as a cause of human disease and suffering through precision medicine, novel research, next-generation therapies, and compassionate care.

This event will be remarkable and will bring together communities of cancer survivors, cyclists, and their supporters with a common goal to conquer this disease. Join the ride in October by registering today at www.ridetovictory.org or by calling (844) 777-7433.

*please note: exact route mileage may vary by up to 30 miles

About this Blog

The Penn Medicine Giving blog highlights and promotes philanthropic contributions to Penn Medicine and the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine.

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