The Bermuda Day Half Marathon has a special meaning for both spectators and participants alike, but for one individual, this year’s 115th race carries an even greater cause in the name of ovarian cancer.

Derrick Hendrickson is the only child of the late Kim Hendrickson, who lost her life to this terminal disease on February 7 in 2021.

It would be a life-changer that occured just one day after his birthday and three days before hers.

On Monday (May 13), he posted this poster on his Facebook page:

When contacted by Bermuda Real earlier this week, he said: “I always said I wanted to do it at least once before I turned 30, but that never happened.

“This year I turned 40 and she would have been 60. I decided to make the milestone year something more special by making good on what I didn’t do by 30.”

Admittedly, he was quick to say: “I don’t particularly like running.

“This will be my first time running the half marathon ever!’

Asked why he was running to raise funds for PALS, he replied: “They were extremely helpful in my mom’s last days, so I figured even though I am dedicating the run to my mom -I could do more.

“Scanning that QR code will take you to their donate page, where individuals can select ‘Running for Kim’ as the cause they want to donate to.

“PALS helps with all Cancer Care, but I am specifically trying to raise awareness for ovarian cancer, which is what my mom had,” he added.

“My mom passed February 7 in 2021 – one day after my birthday and three days before hers.”

On that note, he said: “No birthdays will never be the same.”

Asked what he would say to others who have lost a loved one to cancer, he stated point blank that their lives will forever “be changed” or “will be changed”.

“Take time to enjoy the time you have with your loved one,” he said.

“Never be too busy for the people you say you care about.

“Cherish those moments and the memories, those are what you are left with after they are gone.

“Grieve however you need to – don’t let anyone dictate what that looks like.”

Overall, he said he has not set a fundraising goal for his run next Friday (May 24).

“I have no goal, but I’m hoping there are others that feel as strongly as I feel about the service PALS provide, who believe it to be a worthy cause to donate, not for my cause – just donate in general.

PALS Cancer Care of Bermuda was established in Bermuda “to provide cancer patients with quality care primarily in the home setting in order to enhance quality of life”.

In that regard, PALS provides “support and assistance to cancer patients and their families”.

The services listed on their website includes:

  • Employs a Palliative Care Physician, five Specialized Nurses and a Medical Social Worker, that make over 6,000 visits annually
  • No charges for visits to patients and the use of medical equipment
  • Not part of the hospital, hospice or government, but works together with them all to enhance the care of our patients
  • Trained volunteers who provide moral support, friendship and transport for our patients
  • In order to exist relies on donations, in addition to our ongoing fundraising events

Asked why people should support PALS, he said: “Every family will have been impacted by Cancer, and even if we wish that disease didn’t exist, we still need care for those who have, and/orwill get it.

“PALS provides the resources needed to navigate that Cancer journey for yourself and loved ones.

“The doctor(s), nurse(s), access to information and equipment are a Godsend.

What was also interesting during our exchange for this interview, was the fact that the 115th Annual Bermuda Half Marathon, would be his first half marathon.

And he only decided “to give the half marathon a got between last December and January.

“I only started running last September,” he said.

“Then I upped my training regimen in February, and entered a few races between March and now in preparation.

“I made it in my trial run a couple weeks ago, so the plan is do it again and to better that time.”

Asked if running and training for the upcoming race has improved his health and fitness levels, or whether in fact he feels better because of it, he said: “It got me moving with more consistent cardio.”

“Since I stopped playing basketball, I hadn’t really been getting in consistent exercise,” he added.

“I always hated running, because it was aimless to me unlike playing football or basketball where you have to run, but with something else as the goal.”

Now that he has “started doing it consistently”, he said: “I can say I don’t hate it anymore, although I won’t go as far as to say I like it, but I plan to keep it up.”

Overall, he said running has helped him with “weight loss and endurance”

But more than anything else, he said: “It’s teaching me patience.

“I try not to focus on the running, and let my mind take me other places.

“Thinking about my mom and her ‘never say die’ attitude, pushes me through the days I don’t want to be doing it at all.

“I was my mom’s only child and I have no children of my own.”

Come next Friday, now that he has started running consistently – something he never liked, he said: “I can say I don’t hate it anymore, although I won’t go as far as to say I like it.”

Either way, he said: “I plan to keep it up.”