BATTLING BRAIN CANCER – ONE STEP AT A TIME
The 2006 Kalani Rodrigues “K-Rod” Memorial Scholarship Walk/Run, held in memory of an award-winning track star at Clark College, was held on Saturday, September 23.
The run/walk began at Clark College’s Christiansen Soccer Field.
|Skip and Lori Jimerson established the
K-Rod Run/Walk in memory of their son
The soccer field is located across from the college’s main campus on Ft. Vancouver Way between E. McLoughlin Blvd. and Fourth Plain Blvd. It continued through Vancouver’s Waterworks Park and ended with a luau at Clark’s Andersen Fountain.
The annual K-Rod Walk/Run is sponsored by the Clark College Penguin Athletic Club (PAC) to raise money for a Clark College athletic scholarship in memory of Kalani Rodrigues, who died from brain cancer in 2004 at the age of 21. Schering-Plough Pharmaceutical donated $5,000 to the Clark College Foundation for the 2006 K-Rod Walk/Run. Schering-Plough provides medicines and services, including drugs to treat brain tumors.
|Clark College staff including (left to right) Executive Director of Communications and Marketing Barbara Kerr, Vice President of Instruction Rassoul Dastmozd, Vice President of Student Affairs Rachel Ruiz, Clark College mascot Oswald, Associate Vice President of Human Resources Katrina Golder and Dean of Student Enrollment and Financial Programs Ted Broussard supported the K-Rod Run/Walk.|
About the K-Rod Run/Walk
Kalani Rodrigues was a dedicated student and athlete. He played football at Cascade Junior High and Evergreen High School before transferring to Heritage. He took classes at Clark College and hoped to become a forensic fire investigator. He was a model student, earning a 4.0 and making the Dean’s list in 2003.
A track star at the college during 2003, he was a Northwest Athletic Association of Community College (NWAACC) champion, winning the 400 meters. He was also a member of the winning 400 and 1600 meter relay teams. His legacy at Clark College includes four All American awards and 2003 Outstanding Sophomore athlete.
Despite experiencing pounding headaches at the end of nearly each race, Kalani Rodrigues continued his track career through the end of the 2003 season. Four months after the end of his last track season, Rodrigues was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and a prognosis of three to six months to live. Determined to live as long as possible, he underwent cutting edge treatment, which reduced the tumor by 80%. However, a second tumor developed six months into the treatment. Rodrigues continued his battle, living seven months longer than the original prognosis. He died on December 2, 2004.
During his treatment, Kalani Rodrigues was inspired by his parents, Lori and Skip Jimerson, as well as the story of world champion bicycle racer Lance Armstrong. He purchased Armstrong’s “Livestrong” wristbands for his entire family and created his own version as well.
Rodrigues was also inspired by the idea of having a running event to call attention to brain cancer research and treatment. His mother, Lori Jimerson, remembers, “In a moment of levity, he said, ‘It will be called the K-Rod Run.’ It always made him smile.”
The inaugural “K-Rod Run” was held on August 20, 2005 and raised enough funds to create a scholarship endowment and gift to both the National Brain Tumor Foundation and Heritage High School’s Dollars for Scholars
Lori Jimerson, who works at Clark College, noted, “The slogan for the K-Rod Run is ‘Get educated: Brain cancer research is not a lost cause. Higher education is the cure.’ It’s more than a slogan. It’s at the heart of the message that Kalani wanted the K-Rod Run to communicate and celebrate.”