Raising Awareness in Memory of Dad

June 3, 2024

In Loving Memory of our Father, John Bayeux, Jr.

The Bayeux Family was close growing up. So close that each night, Kate, John and Patrick Bayeux would anxiously wait, with noses pressed firmly against the window, for their father to get off the train and come home for dinner at 7pm. John Bayeux, Jr. was a family man; what little free time he had was devoted to giving back to his community through active involvement in local government, teaching catechism at church and coaching all three of the kid’s respective sports. John Bayeux, III, American Liver Foundation (ALF) national board member and East Coast co-chair of ALF’s Young Leadership Council said, “Dad was a beacon of strength and was always there for our family, friends and community members.” To all who knew him, John Bayeux, Jr. was a strong and successful all-American dad – which is why it came as a complete shock when he was diagnosed with stage four liver cancer on Valentine’s Day 2014. Kate Bayeux, ALF Young Leadership Council member remembers, “I was in my senior year of college when my father was diagnosed. It wasn’t the first time the “C” word had been uttered in our house, but I also never expected it to be mentioned in relation to my father. My grandfather died from cancer and my grandmother was in the middle of battling her own fight against cancer, but this was my dad. I couldn’t imagine anything bringing him down.”

Liver cancer claims the lives of more than 30,000 adults each year in the U.S. – more than doubling since 1980.

Prior to his diagnosis, John Jr. was healthy and never experienced any symptoms or feelings that would lead him to believe he was terminally ill. The earth-shattering news left everyone in disbelief. John III said, “I remember how short, yet destructive his battle was. The cancer seemed to come out of nowhere, uproot everyone and everything and then leave, taking one of the most important people in our lives with it, before any of us had a chance to process it.” Unfortunately, John Jr.’s critical condition made him ineligible for a liver resection and/or liver transplant. His only hope of beating liver cancer was an aggressive chemotherapy regimen which he endured over three months. Throughout it all, John Jr. kept his strong, positive outlook. John III. Said, “I remember he fully intended to beat cancer, so he hadn’t told many people, and continued working remotely.” Patrick Bayeux, ALF Young Leadership Council member said, “My father was a strong man; for as long as he was conscious, he refused to show the degree of the chemo’s effects. Though sheltered from his direct suffering, I was very aware of the degradation in his physical presence and quality of life.”

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)* is rapidly increasing as a common cause of liver cancer in the U.S. and worldwide.

Sadly, on May 12, 2014, John Bayeux, Jr. lost his fast and furious battle with liver cancer leaving behind his wife, Karen, daughter Kate and sons John and Patrick. Patrick said, “My siblings and I were all in different life stages when dad passed. They were in college, and I had just graduated from middle school, but there was an understanding that despite having our own perspective of the events that transpired, we shared the same trauma, and as a result, we became closer in the years that followed than we ever did during childhood.”

In the Fall of 2014, John III ran the Philadelphia Half Marathon with Liver Life Challenge Team ALF in memory of his father. John III said, “Running has kept me feeling close to my dad; he got me into it. Just weeks after he passed, I went for a run down to the shore. I accidentally bumped into someone and upon looking up to apologize, I was shocked to see my father’s face looking back at me, just smiling. Still in motion, I stumbled a few steps forward, stopped and looked back only to see nobody there. I’ve felt incredibly close to him on every run ever since.”

Running with Team ALF, combined with his unwavering commitment to memorialize his father, sparked a passion withinside John III to do more to raise awareness and dispel the negative stigma around liver disease. After the marathon, John III started volunteering with ALF’s former mid-Atlantic Division and, after moving to NYC for work, served as co-chair of ALF’s New York associate board of young professionals which he has since helped transform into a national platform known as ALF’s Young Leadership Council. Earlier this year, John III was nominated to ALF’s national board of directors. Kate and Patrick also serve as members of ALF’s Young Leadership Council and, to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of their father’s passing, Kate, John III and Patrick ran the 2024 New York City Half Marathon together and raised more than $10,000 for ALF. John III said, “Something was different as we ran together, side by side that morning. Every step forward, every breath inward and every hill upward was for dad. I got chills when Pat and I crossed the finish line together with our arms over each other’s shoulders. We got the awesome opportunity to watch Kate finish in her wave, too – she had an incredibly contagious energy about her. It was truly one of the greatest honors of my life to run that race with my two best friends, in honor of our late father, and I couldn’t think of a better way to honor his legacy – will you help support our efforts?”

In honor of Father’s Day and Men’s Health Month, we thank the Bayeux Family, and others like them, for their commitment to the liver community and for uplifting and fostering a new generation of ALF leaders. Your father would be proud of your accomplishments and your mission to raise awareness and eliminate the stigma of liver disease. For more information about how you can get involved, visit liverfoundation.org.

*The nomenclature for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has recently changed to metabolic dysfunction associated steatotic liver disease (MASLD).

Last updated on June 6th, 2024 at 02:29 pm

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