I am Kenny Baker and this is my story.
My name is Kenny Baker, and I live in Knoxville, Tennessee with my beautiful wife Ashley and our children Ella and James. Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s you heard on occasion that someone your family knew was diagnosed with cancer, but not that often. A close friend of mine growing up lost his mother at an early age. I recall getting the news, and that feeling of being powerless against something that to my teenage brain did not have the maturity to fully grasp. This insidious disease had not really been on my radar, until now. Several years later my future mother-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer, today 30+ years later she’s still cancer free. Several years pass by and a childhood friend is taken away far too early in her life… OK, this sucks.
Over the past 25 years I’ve worked daily as a holistic health practitioner with people to assist them in creating the most optimal level of health attainable. In university, I majored in exercise physiology and found my passion for competitive road cycling. Moreover, on Thursday evening October 11, 1990 I met my best friend, my soulmate, Ashley. I think on some level we both knew this was “it”, completely opposite personalities, and going in opposite directions this had “destiny” written all over it! Coming up on 30 years together,
2 teenagers, a house, charming neighborhood and we’re living the dream, until…
January 2018, we receive a call on Friday afternoon that no one wants to get. Ashley is diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s like in a movie where you cannot hear anything and everything is moving in slow motion… In shock, you just feel stunned, numb, speechless, this isn’t fair. Ashley and I like to say, we didn’t sign up for this, did we? Several weeks later, Ashley has a double mastectomy. Fortunately, everyone agreed it wasn’t necessary for chemotherapy or radiation and for that we are thankful. I sit here writing this with my stomach knotting up, I don’t think anyone who’s aﬀected by cancer ever quite gets over it. This invader scares me because you don’t see it coming, and often when you do it leaves you with little to no ability to negotiate. I’m so thankful that I still have my wife, it could have been diﬀerent. Ladies please do not miss your regular examinations.
I’m sitting here with my mother right now and it’s memorial day 2020, we’re here in her hospital room. About 1 year ago she too was diagnosed, gastric cancer. Now half way into a second round of chemotherapy and also having completed a round of radiation she had to have a feeding tube put in just this past Thursday. Unable to eat for 3 weeks now, there was no other alternative. This disease is very diﬃcult to talk about, to write about, and likes to bully us, and I would like for it to just go away.
This past year we’ve had at least six other people in our circle of friends diagnosed with various forms of cancer, that’s in addition to my mother. One of them a teenager who lost her battle in spite of enormous amounts of love, thoughts, prayers and support… I have no words. We all owe it to ourselves to live for those who have been taken away prematurely, taken away from loved ones, taken while they had so much to give, so much life to live.
I’M RACING RAAM because I want to send a message that it’s not okay to lose our children, our spouses, our parents, and our friends. I’M RACING RAAM to inspire someone to believe there’s something bigger than cancer, the human spirit. I’M RACING RAAM to make a diﬀerence, to elevate our emotions and take a stand against this disease.
If you know someone ﬁghting cancer, if you have lost someone to this disease, let us know because our team is racing across America for you, for them, and for everyone aﬀected in the past, present, and future.
We are a team of eight men racing across America non-stop from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland over 3000 miles start to ﬁnish. We race to honor the memories of those lost, for those in the ﬁght, and we’ll have you all in our hearts and minds each day we train, and each moment we race until we cross the ﬁnish line.