The formation of teams is new to the Prevent Cancer Foundation 5K and one of the teams formed this year is “Team Alan” in memory of Alan Matz, a retired senior chief in the Navy and former NASA engineer. Kelli Mitchell, girlfriend of Anthony Matz, Alan’s son, formed Team Alan in memory of this remarkable man, who lost his battle to liver cancer in August of this year.
“We wanted to start walking and incorporating exercise into our lifestyle. That’s what motivated us to get involved and form a team for the Prevent Cancer Foundation 5K,” explains Kelli Mitchell of Falls Church, Virginia. “Participating in the 5K is a good way to stay active and complete the race for someone we love.” Alan’s whole family is participating. He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery this Tuesday, only a few days before the 5K, which Kelli describes as “a wonderful way to celebrate his life after such a difficult few months.”
“When I first met Alan, we hit it off right away. He had such a dry sense of humor that always made me laugh,” Kelli says. “Alan had so many life experiences that made him a truly amazing person.”
Alan was diagnosed in fall 2008 and fought a long and hard battle against the disease. He sought treatment at Johns Hopkins University Hospital; however, after having surgery to remove the tumor in December of 2008, the cancer returned and spread to multiple organs and his lymphatic system. While at home, Alan was constantly visited by his family including his children, grandchildren and siblings and he was cared for by the wonderful people from Hospice and Palliative Care of the Eastern Shore. Alan passed away at his home in Chincoteague, Virginia with his loving wife Cheryl and daughter Ileta by his side. “His fight for life was incredible and inspirational,” Kelli adds.
Kelli Mitchell and the entire Matz family are taking the devastating loss of a loved one to cancer and making a positive step toward supporting cancer prevention by forming a team for the Prevent Cancer Foundation 5K. Join us today in honor of someone battling against cancer or in memory of someone who has passed because of this cruel disease. Walk or run on Saturday, September 25 for a cancer-free future.