Cross country team members wear “Team Parker” shirts at the Hazelwood West Invitational at Koch Park on Friday, Sept. 23, to support the Parker family. Chris Parker was diagnosed with cancer last April. Jack, Chris and Emily Parker share a moment at the meet. Photos by Natalie Johnson
Cross country team members sported “Team Parker” shirts to school on Friday as well as to the Hazelwood West Invitational at Koch Park. The shirts were designed and sold by team members. The proceeds went to the Parker family, whose father is battling cancer.
Chris Parker, father of cross country runners freshman Jack Parker and senior Emily Parker, was diagnosed in April of this year and began treatment in just days of his finding out. Parker’s treatment regimen is very vigorous and aggressive, including multiple surgeries and 38 rounds of chemo and radiation.
Parker said he stays strong with the support of his family, friends and wellwishers.
Emily and Jack have supported him immensely, Parker said.
“Our family dynamic has changed… we need to be more individual.” Emily said. “It is definitely emotionally hard, but we are really lucky to have good friends and good family… people to talk to and people who check up on you.”
“You need that,” Chris added.
It is clear that the Parker family is grateful for the support from Emily and Jack’s teammates.
Chris was completely oblivious to the scheme of the shirts, and did not find out about them until waiting in the bathroom line at Koch Park. Chris saw a boy wearing a shirt that said, “Team Parker” and said he felt sorry for whoever this “Parker” was, and wished them well. It wasn’t until the boy turned around, and he saw the “Grateful Dead” lyrics on the back that Chris realized the shirts were for him.
As he read the words “Through this world of trouble, We’ve got to love one another,” Chris was overcome with emotions.
“I was crying in the bathroom line,” Parker admitted with a smile. “This is one of the kindest gestures that has ever been bestowed upon me.”
Chris will continue his treatments this year and will continue to receive support from his family, friends and the WG cross country team, who are all undoubtedly on Team Parker.
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