What does a hero look like to you? When many of us hear the word “hero” we conjure up childhood memories of the images captured in a Marvel comic book. Others quickly envision their favorite politician or famous icon. But for the hundreds of people who knew him, and thousands who followed his story, a hero looks a lot like…Travis Roberts.
Travis was 39 years old when he lost his 14 month battle with Cholangiocarcinoma. But those 14 months were an inspiration to all who crossed his path. While most would be so focused on themselves and their fight alone…Travis’ focus turned outward. Travis fought Cholangiocarcinoma with all of his strength, flying all over the country to meet with doctors, surgeons and experts. In doing so, two things struck Travis over and over no matter what hospital he visited or what specialist he met. First, his chances would be far better if Cholangiocarcinoma had the research and funding that the more common cancers, such as breast and prostate, have. And, second, he was in a fortunate position to be able to exhaust every avenue possible for his fight. Not everyone can be so lucky. Over and over he heard that half of cancer patients file for bankruptcy due to their medical bills. Travis was heartbroken. To think that there were people who had to choose between their home and their medical bills was more than he could bear.
He knew he had to do something about it. Because that’s what heroes do.
Travis Roberts had a magnetic personality that made people want to be around him. Wherever you found fun you often found Travis right there in the middle of it. He had an unmatchable zest for life and kept himself busy with countless activities, sports, games, and, of course, University of Georgia football. He married his high school sweetheart, Carrie, in 2000 and started his company, Hemma Concrete, in 2002. In 2007, his first son Trey was born. Two years later his daughter Piper was born and two years following that his youngest Jake.
Only 23 months after Jake was born Travis would be diagnosed with Cholangiocarcinoma. And the fight would begin.
While fighting for his life, knowing he was facing a zero percent survival rate, Travis started Cancer Kicks in the hopes that some day his efforts would prevent someone else from having to walk in his shoes. Because that’s what heroes do.
Travis left behind his wife and three young children. He left behind family members and countless friends. He left behind the company he and Carrie had started with only $300 but by 2014 the corporate revenue had grown to $38 million annually. But he left behind something else as well. By starting Cancer Kicks he left behind hope and the chance for a cancer patient’s journey to have a different ending than his did.
Because that’s what heroes do.