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Bozeman man with rare brain tumor runs half-marathon months after surgery; inspires his doctor to run along

Chuck Photo 1 .jpg
Posted at 10:36 AM, Oct 24, 2022

BOZEMAN — Chuck Kendrick is an outdoorsman who spends time hiking, running, and cross-country skiing. Last year he noticed something strange. While on a walk he would veer off to the side. When he decided to get it checked out, he received some news one might not expect.

“I went hiking with my wife up on story mill road over here and I couldn’t keep up with her- now that’s a bit of a disaster but we got up to the top of the hill and I said I got to lay down and sleep for,” says Kendrick.

Kendrick describes himself as active, so when he felt tired, he noticed something was off.

“So finally I decided okay yeah, I got to go in and have something checked out,” says Kendrick.

Kendrick had a tumor 10 years ago, then last year Kendrick was told he had a sub ependymoma, a rare brain tumor that grows near the spinal cord. So he underwent surgery in Billings to remove what they thought was one tumor.

“I was able to get all of three tumors out, and I’ve been very impressed with his recovery,” says Neurosurgeon Dr. Vance Fredrickson.

Kendrick says the road to recovery hasn’t been as fast as he’d like, but he has slowly been getting back to doing things he enjoys, like playing music.

“General optimistic outlook on life and basically said yeah were doing to do this- were going to make it and on top of that I can still play my fiddle,” says Kendrick.

Kendrick describes himself as goal-oriented. So, he set one very optimistic goal for himself.

“From the time I was in the hospital. I want to do a half marathon,” says Kendrick.

One that took even his doctor by surprise.

“At his first post-operative appointment he said, ‘well I’m going to run the Bozeman half marathon on September 11,’ and I was sitting there feeling a little inadequate in life because I have never run any race,” says Fredrickson.

So, they set out and began training months before the marathon.

“You know I was very happy about that! You know it was so good that he said, ‘hey I’ll do that with you- really!?” says Kendrick.

“I told Doctor Fredrickson, 'hey, I think you better run on ahead. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to finish this thing because I pushed myself too hard,'” says Kendrick.

"Having crossed the line sort of was the exclamation point. Hey yeah, it's going good.”

The Bozeman Marathon isn’t the end for Chuck. He says he hopes to run another race sometime in the spring and Dr. Fredrickson says he plans to be along for the ride again.