The core structure of Dawn’s family dissolved when her dad Arthur died from oral cancer. They still question, ‘What if his cancer was diagnosed earlier?’ Dawn chaired the Dallas Oral Cancer Foundation Walk for Awareness to honor his memory on Oct 8, 2022. Arthur’s Crew was equaled in number by Team Dada, organized by Paras Patel, walking in memory of his father Bharatkumar, affectionately known as Dada, who eventually succumbed to the disease a decade after diagnosis. Paras told his Dad’s story at the walk: ‘My Dad was an internist and on occasion made house visits and took me along. He showed me what humanity and compassion look like. This disease influenced my choice in pursuing dentistry so I could play a part in discovering the disease in the early stages and saving lives.’

Ed Brown, a father and new grandfather was the original Dallas OCF walk coordinator. After he was diagnosed with oral cancer, he wanted to take action and make a difference in raising awareness. He lives in GA, but he offered to help Dawn by rallying his contacts. Despite his health challenges, he drove 17 hours to help with the walk. That is dedication!

This was the first time Dawn organized a walk and said, “This event reminded me of the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child”. Because it takes continued support for survivors, donations for research, and education for early detection, etc..…to win the battle against oral cancer. We all started as individual contributors but as we walked/ran the paths at Bachman Lake, shared our stories, and hung ribbons in remembrance of lost loved ones, we became a village.

We look forward to growing this village yearly in our fight against oral cancer.”

Hopefully, Dawn and Paras will honor their fathers for years to come! If you know anyone in the Dallas area interested in receiving information about this walk, contact: dowens@us.ibm.com