- Tacoma, WA
- Craig Hill
When Rochel Cobb thinks of her dad, she thinks of running.
She thinks of the frigid jogs together through the snow when she was a girl. She remembers the family reunions her dad organized at various fun runs around the country.
And, perhaps most vividly, she remembers the day in 2004 when her dad finished the Avenue of the Giants Marathon 10 years after doctors told him he’d never run again.
So in August, when her dad, Bobby Goddard, learned he had a life-threatening form of tongue cancer, she knew the perfect way to honor him.
Cobb’s idea was the Live, Love, Run! a race through Point Defiance Park she hopes will become an annual event. She says her goal for the run on Saturday is to raise money to cover the more than $30,000 in treatment and to encourage people to “pursue things despite adversity.”
Eventually, the Goddard family hopes the run will fund a health awareness center it wants to open in Bobby Goddard’s honor.
Bobby Goddard, a 57-year-old general contractor in Tacoma, started radiation treatment in late January. Doctors say there is a 50-percent chance the treatment will work. If it doesn’t, Goddard’s wife, Jamie, says doctors may have to remove part of Bobby’s tongue.
Bobby has beaten longer odds.
In 1994, he fell 25 feet off of a roof and broke 14 bones including his hips and a leg.
“It was pretty terrible,” said Jamie Goddard. “He had pulleys over his bed so he could pull himself up with one arm. It took a lot of physical therapy just so he could walk without a limp.
“Doctors said he would need a hip replacement and that he’d never run again.”
The doctors were wrong on both accounts.
“That was the biggest challenge of my life,” Bobby Goddard said in an interview that had to be conducted by e-mail because of his treatment. “As I passed over the finish line, I felt like I was hugged by angels. I was unexpectedly overwhelmed.
“Knowing that I was able to accomplish this goal gives me the confidence that I can pull through this as well.”
As his family plans the run and an auction, which will be held Feb. 15, they seem to gain strength from Bobby.
“He’s amazing,” Cobb said. “We want to get out his message that your dreams are worth going after even if it gets difficult.”
Cobb moved to Tacoma to organize the race, leaving her husband, Kurtis, behind in Phoenix. Susan Goddard, Bobby’s sister, moved from Michigan to help.
“I am overwhelmed with the love and support of my family,” Bobby said. “… I’m looking forward to crossing the finish line on race day.”
Jamie says Bobby hopes to walk the two-mile course on race day. The race also has 10- and 5-kilometer courses.
Cobb, 27, says her dad’s struggle has made her cherish her time with him even more.
“It puts into perspective your own mortality,” Cobb said. “I don’t have kids, and – when I do – I wonder if my dad will ever get to meet them.
“It makes you want to live wholly and pursue things despite adversity.”
If runners get nothing else from Saturday’s run through Point Defiance, Bobby Goddard hopes they hear that message.
“In the future, I believe that this race will be one of the biggest and most popular races in Washington,” he said. “The goal is to raise funds for the awareness center and have a positive impact on a lot of people’s lives.”