(WXYZ) - Former Red Wing and current team assistant general manager Jim Nill has had plenty of success and opportunity in his life. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that he and his wife Bekki love to give back. However, it might surprise many that Bekki is fighting terminal cancer. She isn’t asking for sympathy, rather to help her help kids in Africa who don’t have clean drinking water.
Bekki was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer in May of 2011. She already beat breast cancer 12 years ago. This time the cancer is more severe and Bekki says she is comfortable not knowing what the next day holds.
“I have that peace knowing that God is in control. I know I could die at any moment.”
Bekki has always been a person to take on a challenge. So, one day during a chemo treatment she decided to run a marathon to help kids. She signed up with an organization called World Vision. They build water-wells in countries like Africa to provide people with clean water for their villages.
Upon hearing that Bekki was involved, her husband Jim signed up and they began to train and collect pledges for the October 7 run in Chicago.
However, about four months ago, Bekki’s chemo changed and running became unbearable. It ended her marathon training, but Jim kept running for Bekki and the kids.
“When you hear those kids stories and consider what Bekki was going through, it hit my heart," said Jim.
Those who know Jim say this kind of spirit is the same thing he brought to the ice as a 10-year professional hockey player and the same spirit he brings as an accomplished front office assistant to Ken Holland.
Cancer and chemo-therapy have taken away Bekki’s ability to run the marathon. However, it hasn’t taken her ability to train with her husband while riding on a bike or driving a car next to him. She will also be in Chicago to cheer Jim during the 26.2 mile run.
“It is not about us, it is about the kids. We are only here for a short time, and we are here to bring a message.”
Jim will be running with a group of about 225 local people, including members from his Northridge Church based in Plymouth. If you would like to donate to World Vision’s mission you can go to Teamworldvision.org/goto/ridgerunners
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