At 31, Jim Gainey had a seemingly perfect life. He and his wife, Catherine had two boys, 3-year-old Shamus and 10-month-old Finnegan. On March 18, 2013, his life changed.
“I actually got the diagnosis March 18 that I had some form of cancer. I found out officially that I had stage four that Friday,” Gainey said.
The following days, weeks and months were focused on trying to give Jim a chance to live. He went through 27 rounds of chemotherapy to treat colon cancer.
“There are a lot of days when I look at it and go, 'What happened? This wasn’t supposed to happen,'” said Catherine Gainey, Jim’s wife. “We’re in a situation where we didn’t expect to be. So we didn’t know what could happen next and unfortunately the statistics are very grim for Jim so we just want to pack as much in as we have.”
Now the family does not pass up opportunities to do things together or visit new places. They also cherish moments together and take nothing for granted.
“Having two young boys is definitely, it is a lot of what gets me out of bed in the morning especially when I go through treatments and things like that, knowing that I get to be their dad and have the privilege to be there for them,” Jim Gainey said.
“I think I’m a lot more grateful for what I have,” Catherine Gainey said. “I’m more appreciative of Jim. Even on bad days he still manages to do simple things like tell us he loves us.”
While they have focused their attentions on creating as many memories as they can for the family, they have also worked to raise awareness about colon cancer prevention through screening. With regular screening, colon cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer.
“If I can get information out to people to help prevent them from having to deal with this, the more the better,” Jim Gainey said.
“We want to do what we can to raise awareness about it so that it doesn’t happen to other people. I don’t want another young family to be hit with this nightmare,” Catherine Gainey said.
The family is also working to find a cure for colon cancer. They are involved with the Scope It Out 5K run/walk that will be held at Warner Park on Saturday at 9 a.m. Individual and team registration for the event is $30. To date the Scope It Out 5K has donated more than $1 million to colorectal cancer research and raise awareness.