While broadcasting from the Texas Children’s Cancer Center in 2005, Kevin Kline, morning co-host on The Q Morning Zoo, met a 15-year-old girl who had been diagnosed with a rare cancer. Despite being given a 10 percent chance to live another six months, she defied those odds and lived to celebrate her 16th birthday.
“My wife and I created the Snowdrop Foundation as her 16th birthday present,” says Kline. “We don’t have kids of our own, but we see the anguish, sadness and helplessness in parents of children with cancer and feel compelled to help.”
The Snowdrop Foundation provides funding for continued pediatric cancer research, as well as college scholarships for pediatric cancer patients and survivors. Since its inception, the foundation has awarded 550 scholarships worth over $1.5 million and donated $1.568 million to research.
To help the foundation raise even more money, Kline is embarking on a grueling personal journey he calls Delivering Hope – a solo run down the single most dangerous road in America known as The Dalton Highway.
The run, which takes place later this year, starts at the Arctic Circle and ends in Deadhorse, Alaska, near the edge of the Arctic Ocean. If successful, Kline will become the first recorded person in history to solo run the northernmost 300 miles of The Dalton Highway during the winter.
Not only do winter temperatures range from 4 F to -11 F (with extremes as low as -40 F), 240 miles of the road has no gas stations, restaurants, hotels, or any other services, making it the longest stretch of service-less road in North America.
To prepare for the frigid arctic air, Kline and his crew built a walk-in freezer in his garage dubbed The BOCS (Big Ole’ Climate Simulator), which is capable of reaching -20F. In it, Kline wears a headlamp while running on a treadmill to mirror the 20-plus daily hours of darkness in which he’ll run.
For Kline, Delivering Hope symbolizes childhood cancer in a multitude of ways, including the pain, isolation and emotional journey that patients and their families must endure. But he says the primary reason for this run is to remember those who lost their battle and to celebrate the many victories.
“When a child beats cancer, they, their family, friends, doctors and nurses feel like they are on top of the world,” says Kline.
Kline’s run will end near the top of the world at the U.S. Post Office in Deadhorse, Alaska on his 50th birthday. “The hope is that as we defy the odds and successfully complete our life-threatening run, so too can children with cancer defy the odds and successfully beat their life-threatening diagnosis,” says Kline.