Nightly News   |  November 16, 2013

Dad battles cancer, runs marathon with daughter

A father with a brain tumor takes up running with his six-year-old daughter. It’s a tale of triumph. NBC’s Lester Holt reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> it's been said life is a marathon, not a sprint. tonight we want you to meet a man who has a keener sense of that than most of us. when doctors told him he didn't have a lot of time left, the young austin, texas, probation officer set his mind on finding a way to spend as much time as possible with the person closest to him. he's done it one step at a time. he runs like there is no tomorrow.

>> it's therapy. it's where things feel normal. one foot in front of the other. you don't have to remember how to do that.

>> reporter: time is running away from him. three years ago dock the tors discovered a tumor in his brain. they took out as much as they safely could. he's 33 years old.

>> they said, odds are you won't make 40.

>> reporter: i can't imagine somebody saying you won't make 40. how did you process that?

>> i think it took a while for it to hit me. joking around. i said, well, i run faster than anyone else . i gesds i will die faster than anyone else .

>> reporter: your first inclination is to feel sorry for him. but spend time with him and you will realize for the things taken from him -- his memory, his ability to drive and hold a job -- he's discovered how simple life is and what's important.

>> 98, 100.

>> reporter: he's a single dad.

>> i realized that i missed a lot of things from basic things like making her meals, changin r diaper to going to functions at school.

>> reporter: no more. he and his daughter are inseparable. he's dedicated what's left of his life to her. a bond strengthened by the simple joy of running.

>> originally it was a way to get her to go to sleep. she would come back so wired. that was a bad idea.

>> it just started becoming a fun thing. we'd talk. we'd play music. wake me up when it's all over when i'm wiser and i'm older

>> eventually, some small 5-ks let us in and we started doing longer races.

>> reporter: they are quite a sight on the race course .

>> we just run. whoever wins getting the medal.

>> reporter: eram has won lots of medals. they even won a marathon in texas this year.

>> they gave me the winner's medal. i put it on her. i didn't take it. i got beat by a 6-year-old.

>> reporter: putting kianna first made what's left of his life all the richer.

>> if everything goes right and all i did was hang out with my kid some more or things go wrong and i hung out with my kid some more, that's as good as it gets.

>> reporter: kianna anywknows her father is sick. doctors are hopeful technology will advance to the point they can remove the rest of his tumor. until then he'll focus on what matters now.

>> these are the things my 6-year-old could teach me. have fun putting one foot in