March 1, 2019

It didn’t surprise me when I learned that my 275-pound son Jarid, who played defensive tackle at Oklahoma State, agreed to wear a pink wig to raise funds for breast cancer. Back in September he wore a red sequined strapless dress, red high heels and a wig to participate in a singing assignment made by the President of Boeing Business Jets at Boeing’s annual Owners and Operators Conference in Seattle, Washington. Singing background to the song “My Girl” was most appropriate at the time! If truth be known, I kind of think Jarid enjoyed the wardrobe and accessories.

Jarid is fair complected like my wife, Barbara. Our daughter Jacqueline has my half Puerto Rican olive skin. We refer to each other in our home as the “Pinkies” and the “Brownies.” I guess you can say that Jarid has always been a pinkie!

Supporting the battle to fight cancer is near and dear to our family. Barbara has had two battles with breast cancer. I have overcome two bouts with cancer as well. I had kidney cancer and then dealt with bladder cancer. Thank God, all is well for both of us! When Jarid was in high school, Barbara had her first battle. Then when he was attending college at Oklahoma State and on the football team, she had a double mastectomy followed by many rounds of chemotherapy. It seems like only yesterday that Barbara, Jarid, Jacqueline and I huddled around the kitchen table and sheared off all of Barbara’s hair to avoid waiting for it to fall out. It was a heartfelt moment for us. When she looked into the mirror for the very first time to see her bald head, she hollered with tears in her eyes “I look just like Jarid!” To help ensure that she could attend his football games in comfort and not overstress her weak immune system, I became a suite holder at Oklahoma State. Barbara was able to watch her little boy live one of his dreams and play Division I college football.

Over the years, Jarid, Jacqueline and Barbara have each joined me on tours of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, including tours of the surgical suites as surgeries were taking place, as part of our education on cancer research and support needs. Our entire family knows and understands firsthand how this horrible illness can change or even end lives. Thank goodness that within my lifetime there has been great progress made to change what once was a “death sentence” diagnosis to one of hope and recovery. This great progress is a good start, but there is still a lot more to be done and a lot of women who need help. Money is needed to fight the battle to find a cure. The fact that Jarid is helping raise these funds and supporting those with breast cancer is just one more example of his understanding and commitment to our mission at King Aerospace of making a positive difference as a servant leader.

I hope that you will join me in making a contribution to the Susan G. Komen BigWigs campaign. The only reason that Barbara and I are alive is because our cancer was detected early and we received the right treatment. The funds for the “BigWigs” campaign will be used to provide support for women in Dallas County. To make a contribution to support this worthy cause and Jarid’s efforts, please click on to the link below. God bless you and all those families and care providers who deal with this horrible disease!!

Susan G. Komen BigWigs

Written by KING AEROSPACE Founder, Jerry Allan King-Echevarria.