Local teen honors memory of father with teammates: 'He would always make me laugh'

14 year old Kaitlyn Register works tirelessly with her mom to bring awareness for pancreatic cancer. The disease that took her father's life last year. (Courtesy the Register family).

Fourteen-year-old Kaitlyn Register is a gymnast, flawlessly sticking landings and swinging into high scores.

But every time she walks onto the mat, there's one person she wishes could see it all: Her dad Chad, who lost his battle with pancreatic cancer a year ago.

"He was really, really funny," said Kaityln. "He would always make me laugh. He was an all-over really good person."

The gymnast and her mother, Diana, are still grieving his untimely death.

"My husband was 45 when he died. Fourty-five. It's just not long enough, it's not a long enough life," said Diana, who described her husband as a beloved father, husband, and Caldwell police officer.

The two now work tirelessly to bring awareness across the state. Studies show it's the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U-S. It is also one of the few cancers that has not had a considerable improvement with the survival rate in the past 40 years. And for the Registers, these grim statistics are unacceptable.

"If we don't do something now, his death will be in vain. And I, and Kaitlyn, refuse to have his death be in vain," said Diana.

But luckily--the two aren't alone. Kaityln's gym decided all wear purple in order to show support for their teammate. November 16 is National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Day, where those affected are encouraged to wear the color purple to raise awareness, and donate to the cause.

"Today I'm wearing purple to support Kaityln and show awareness for pancreatic cancer," said Lexi Underhill, who was joined by dozens of others wearing different shades of the color.

At her gym, the girls are more than just teammates to Kaitlyn.

"We're a team, a family," said Shelly Carnes, Kaitlyn's coach. "We're more like sisters than not."

Sisters who support each other through the ups and the downs of life; wearing purple on their backs to show they've got hers.

"When one of us needs support, the rest of us are here for them." said Lexi Stolz, another coach at Bronco Elite. The girls are there to give their teammate love, support, and a shoulder to cry on.

"We will keep his memory alive, we will keep fighting, and keep trying to bring awareness in his name," said Diana.

If you are interested in learning more about pancreatic cancer, or donating to find a cure, check out the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network for more.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off