Kara, Warrior Dash 2012, Logan, OH

Kara, Warrior Dash 2012, Logan, OH

Kara entered this world on December 9th, 1975 to parents Ron Ratliff and Rhonda James-Irey. She grew up incredibly close to her family in the tiny town of La Rue, Ohio. Throughout her time in the Elgin schools community, Kara ventured in basketball and cheerleading, but was born to run. Her track and cross country days in high school continued in her adult life as she participated in marathons across the state:

Upper Arlington 5 Miler
O’Shaughnessy’s St. Patty’s Day 5K For Diabetes
The Bank Of America Capital City Half Marathon And Commit To Be Fit 5K
Komen Columbus Race For The Cure
Lifeline Of Ohio Dash For Donation
Columbus Marathon
Capital City Half Marathon, Quarter Marathon, & 5K
Marion Popcorn Festival 5K
Nationwide Better Health Columbus Marathon
Warrior Dash Ohio

Kara’s Warrior Dash in June of 2012 was her last running event, and the first time she noticed her body felt different. In July, our family was informed and ill-prepared to tackle her news of esophageal cancer. Kara never smoked or drank; acid reflux was to blame. In August, she underwent surgery to remove most of her esophagus and have a gastric pull-up, where her stomach was reshaped as an acting esophagus. Following chemotherapy and radiation for six months, we received the glorious news that she was in remission. Summer of 2013, our family was more joyous, more thankful, and closer than ever before. The fall brought about concern as Kara was feeling less than healthy again, and just after Christmas of 2013, we learned that a few lymph nodes had escaped treatment and cancer had returned. The next year was a fight for survival through determination and prayer. Kara never once gave up or opted out of a chemo appointment. The family endured alongside her as she shed weight, hair and tears; yet her hope in the Lord never wavered. Spring of 2015, as Kara had been receiving chemo for over 13 months, an exploratory surgery was ordered to determine her abdominal pain. Though the surgery went successfully, Kara never fully recovered from infection and her body being wrought with fatigue. Our family was in denial that our very own hero was receiving palliative care. Following an unfortunate string of events in early June, Kara communicated her desire for quality of life and chose to breath on her own. On June 8th, 2015, she soared on eagles wings, and breathed freely at last.