The “Run for Dolly” event was a grassroots effort organized by a group of former Pope cross country runners — Gerald Demeunynck, Molly Schenk, Jessica Hale, Katie Greig and Alex York — who ran for Dahlhauser, who has coached at the east Cobb school for the past seven years. The run, held along Columns Drive in east Cobb included T-shirt sales to support Dahlhauser and her family.
The shirts, which sold for $5, were printed with “Believe” on the front and “Coach D in it for the long haul” on the back. Roughly 150 shirts had already been sold by the time the run began.
“I was diagnosed on April 27 after what my family thought was a concussion caused by a freak boating accident,” Dahlhauser said. “The tumor was confirmed on May 7 and I’m scheduled for surgery on May 29.
“I’m 43. I’m fit and healthy, and I coach because I love it. These kids are proving what I’ve always known about them. They’re the best on the planet. They’re wonderful, kind and giving students who care about others. Having them do this for me makes me love them even more.”
There was no set length for Thursday’s run, but because many of the participants were Dahlhauser’s current and former athletes, the length varied for each runner.
“We just want to thank coach Dahlhauser for everything she’s done and we want her to get well soon,” said Ellie Viland, a graduating distance runner, who also played for Pope’s softball team. “We’re running in support of her and this support group is just the beginning. I believe there will be some Lassiter students involved, too. Coach is really well-known in the community, so they’re out to help, too. It’ll be up to each individual to just go and run together and see how far they go.
“It’s about giving her support. She has touched the lives of everyone around her and has left nothing but a positive impact within the cross country team, the track team and the entire school in general. Even after her diagnosis, I have never seen her without a smile on her face, and her courage and perseverance is an inspiration to us all.”
According to the American Brain Tumor Association, the median survival for adults with the tumor Dahlhauser was diagnosed with — a glioblastoma — is about two to three years. For adults with a more aggressive form, median survival, following treatment, is a little more than 14 months, and two-year survival is 30 percent.
However, a 2009 study reported that almost 10 percent of patients with a glioblastoma may live five years or longer.
“This is the worst diagnosis you can get for a brain tumor,” Dahlhauser said. “I hope to be one of the percentages that survive it.”
Dahlhauser’s husband, Jeff Robertson, set up an online profile for Dahlhauser at www.caringbridge.org to tell her story. The site also provides an opportunity for people to donate to Dahlhauser’s cause.
“We were all blown away and devastated by the news when we found out (about Dahlhauser’s tumor),” said Jerad Johnson, the director of Pope’s track and field program. “She has such a great heart and loves being out there for the kids.
“It’s no surprise they’re doing this (run) for her. She’s a fighter. With her positive outlook on everything, she’ll be ready to handle whatever is in front of her. She has the support of the administration and the whole community.”