AS FATE WOULD HAVE IT
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®. Kaila immersed herself in the team and formed invaluable bonds with team members and ALF staff – she considered them family and made running the Boston Marathon® for Team ALF an annual tradition.
In 2019, Kaila was training for her 3rd year with Team ALF when she found out her sister had been diagnosed with hemochromatosis. Being a genetic disease, Kaila immediately got tested and confirmed she too had hemochromatosis – a genetic condition causing the body to absorb and store too much iron often leading to severe organ damage, specifically the liver. Thankfully, as fate would have it, Kaila had Team ALF to shower her with love, support and encouragement.
TWO WORLDS COLLIDE
Chris got involved with ALF after being diagnosed with hemochromatosis. The diagnosis came after losing his father, age 62, to liver cancer caused by undetected hemochromatosis. Knowing Chris had inherited the disease, his family wanted to learn as much as they could. Ultimately, his sister, Laura, became involved with ALF locally in New England and in 2019 convinced Chris to run the 123rd running of the Boston Marathon for Team ALF with her.
FAST FACTS ABOUT HEMOCHROMATOSIS
- It is one of the most common genetic disorders in America
- Most commonly affects white people of Northern European decent
- The disease can be managed but there is no cure
- Symptoms usually appear in early adulthood.
THE REST IS HISTORY
Chris and Kaila saw each other at team training sessions but never really interacted – that is until ALF staff intervened. “One day, Lindsay calls me up and says, “I want to introduce you to a team member I think you may enjoy talking to. She’s your age and has hemochromatosis. It’s Kaila”. Chris started laughing and said, “my first thought was, she’s out of my league.” 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 – this is more than a friendship, this is forever. It has been three years since Chris and Kaila met and this month, the couple will tie the knot in Plymouth, MA.
The couple is doing well and staying healthy. They are managing their 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.
Cheer on Team ALF today as they run the 126th Boston Marathon®. Show your support by donating to a team member, following the team on social media or by tagging Team ALF on social media with #GOLIVER!
Last Updated on April 15, 2022
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