Race Against Cancer family affair for CEO Hall

March 31st, 2018

PHOENIX -- Arizona Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall stood on a stage adjacent to the starting line of the Race Against Cancer and watched as runners took off on the 5K event. Some waved to him, others gave him a thumbs-up. Saturday marked the sixth time the D-backs have hosted this event, but for Hall, some things never change.

"I got chills again today, and I have six times now," he said.

There were an estimated 3,600 participants, some of which opted to do the one-mile walk instead of the 5K. The money raised will go to Arizona non-profit organizations that provide screening, treatment and support for those dealing with cancer.

But this isn't just another event for Hall and his family.

Hall was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011, and his wife, Amy, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016. Derrick is cancer-free now, and Amy has been in remission for months.

"Honestly, every year I'm teary when I come out here because having support is definitely a huge part of successfully going through treatment," Amy said.

Derrick said the event was started by the D-backs community affairs staff shortly after he was diagnosed, and around the same time he founded the Derrick Hall Pro-State Foundation, which focuses on men with prostate cancer. Runners and walkers begin near Chase Field and end with a victory lap in the ballpark.

Sharan Knott, 47, has now participated in the Race Against Cancer five times. She comes with her family, and her son had finished top three in his age group every year leading up to Saturday.

Knott was diagnosed with ovarian cancer four years ago, and went into remission for a year before the cancer came back again. She underwent a total hysterectomy and has now been in remission for the past year.

"Everybody talks to everybody, it's great networking," Knott said. "I'm a pharmacist, so I talk to people all the time while I'm running. It's great."

When he was diagnosed, Derrick felt it was his responsibility to share his story with complete transparency. Amy -- who is more private -- did the same.

Though he's in the clear for now, Derrick goes to the doctor every three months to ensure everything is fine. Amy is currently doing a clinical trial for a breast cancer vaccine.

"It keeps you thinking constantly because it's a little bit of anxiety, because it's always there and it could always come back," Derrick said. "But if it does, you fight again."

Support is key in the fight. Family, friends and D-backs employees wore red wristbands that said, "DHallDbacks" to support Derrick. They sported pink ones with "#MamaStrong" written on them during Amy's fight, an idea that Derrick and Amy's daughter came up with.

"I can't imagine people that are going through it alone," Derrick said.

That's why the D-backs use their platform to host the Race Against Cancer, where they aim to send a message to those affected by cancer.

"You're not alone," Derrick said.