WAHSINGTON (WUSA9) - It is the one spot where runners gravitate every year at the annual Race for Hope in D.C.
It's called the "Wall of Hope" and it's where families post pictures of their loved ones who are battling or have died from brain cancer. The wall was started by a woman from Chevy Chase who says it's personal.
Jillian Roth says she misses her dad's laugh and his joy of life most. Jeffrey Roth was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer at age 51. He died 19 months later. Jillian shares, "It affects your ability to speak, it affects your ability to think. It takes away the person as you know them."
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She says even though he's been gone for 17 years, it doesn't get any easier.
"It changed, it gets different, but you never get over it," she said.
The Race for Hope, a 5K walk/run, was started by close family friends who also lost loved ones. Jillian got an idea, "I wanted people to know who my dad was. Not just a name on the back of my shirt, but his face and who he was as a person."
She started the Wall of Hope as a way to put a face on loss, hope, grieving, remembrance.
Her sisters Sascha and Chloe are all involved. Sascha explains it's a huge part of race day.
"Everybody is drawn to it, everyone tries to find their family member, she said.
The race has raised $27 million to fund brain cancer research over the 20 years it’s been around. The wall has now stretched to 32 feet. It includes more pictures, more survivors, and many memories of those lost.
Jeffrey's wife and the girls' mom Rachelle shares Jeffrey would have been proud.
"He's smiling down, I have to believe that," she said.
"Our goal is to one day to not have this race any more. Hopefully that will happen," Jillian said.
Money raised from this Sunday's race goes to the National Brain Tumor Society and Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure, a local nonprofit.
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