TWO WORLDS COLLIDE
Kaila became involved with the American Liver Foundation (ALF) in 2017 after her friend, Courtney, was diagnosed with liver cancer. Kaila rallied to show support by combining her friendship with her passion for running and applied to be a member of team ALF for the 121st running of the Boston Marathon®. She quickly immersed herself and formed invaluable bonds with ALF team members and staff. She considered them family and made running the Boston Marathon® with Team ALF an annual tradition. In 2019, while training for her third marathon with Team ALF, Kaila’s sister was diagnosed with hemochromatosis, a rare, chronic condition that causes the body to absorb and store too much iron which can lead to severe organ damage, specifically in the liver. As hemochromatosis is also considered a genetic disease, Kaila was advised to get tested as well and unfortunately, she too was diagnosed with hemochromatosis. Thankfully, as fate would have it, Kaila already had Team ALF to shower her with love, support and encouragement.
Chris was also diagnosed with hemochromatosis in 2019. He was tested for the chronic disease after losing his father, age 62, to liver cancer caused by years of damage from unknowingly living with hemochromatosis. Realizing that Chris had inherited the disease, his family wanted to learn as much as they could, so his sister, Laura, got involved with their local ALF Division. Later that year, Laura convinced Chris to run the Boston Marathon® for Team ALF with her.
FAST FACTS ABOUT HEMOCHROMATOSIS
THE REST IS HISTORY
Chris and Kaila saw each other at team ALF trainings but they never really interacted. Chris said, “One day, Lindsay from ALF called me. She said she had someone she wanted to introduce me to – her name was Kaila, she was my age and she too had been diagnosed with hemochromatosis. I started to laugh and thought to myself, “she’s out of my league” as I knew exactly who she was talking about.” The two began talking, hanging out and training together. They bonded over their diagnosis, their passion for running and so many other things. Days turned into weeks, weeks into months and months into years – it was clear this was more than a friendship, this was forever. The couple has been together ever since and recently celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary!
Chris and Kaila are both doing well and staying healthy. They are managing their chronic disease by regularly giving blood, eating healthy foods, exercising and limiting alcohol intake. When asked what they’d like the public to know about liver disease they said, “Ask questions, listen and don’t judge. We didn’t do this to ourselves, we were born with it! People think liver disease is self-induced when in fact most liver diseases are completely unrelated to one’s lifestyle choices.”
SHARING THE LOVE
Chris and Kaila, together with their friends and family, have raised nearly $80,000 for ALF over the last six years running the Boston Marathon®. Thank you for your tireless dedication to ALF and to each other. We are honored to be a part of your love story and wish you nothing but a lifetime of health and happiness.
Last updated on July 3rd, 2023 at 10:33 am