Warrior Times reports
Three years ago, Okeeheelee science teacher Brian Thomas was diagnosed with stage four melanoma, an aggressive, often deadly cancer. A doctor told him he had three months to live, Thomas said.
He’d had surgery to remove a tumor and then tried alternative therapies, but they didn’t work.
“My cancer was just too aggressive,” he recalled. “It was going to kill me.”
Thomas — an athlete known for training young runners and running marathons and on a journey from Michigan to Florida for charity — remembers feeling so weak that he didn’t have the strength to walk from the bedroom to the kitchen. Thomas says he prayed, asking God for 20 more years of life so he could see his daughter, then 3, grow up. And for the one time in his life, he says, he heard God’s voice.
He “said you have 20 years but you must work miracles at a grand level, reach as many people as possible,” Thomas said. “The only way I knew how to do that was running.”
On June 6, Thomas (at left in photo), 36, kicked off yet another charitable adventure – walking and running 1,100 miles from Okeeheelee Middle School in Greenacres to Washington D.C. Accompanying him for the first leg of his trip was Brandon Mercado (at right in photo), 20, a former Okeeheelee student who was going to go all the way to Mackinaw City, Michigan – 1,800 miles.
Their summer efforts raised more than $70,000 in money and other donations, and $58,000 of that has been given to five patients dealing with cancer and other serious illnesses, including Okeeheelee student Karla Pena, Thomas said.
Now Thomas is immersed in another project – this year’s Brian Thomas Benefit 5k Paint Race: Re-Mission. Set for May 14, it will be more than a 5K run. A kids’ mile and a suited-firefighter race are also planned. Thomas envisions a field day plus a show featuring souped up and old cars. A dunk tank will be set up to soak administrators, the step team, and other school groups will be involved, and a bounce house, climbing wall and other activities are planned, he said.
A sign-up site has been created at: https://runsignup.com/Race/FL/WestPalmBeach/BrianThomasPaintRace5K.