COLUMBIA FALLS — In 2017, Columbia Falls freshman runner Kimberly Peacock was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic leukemia. It’s been nearly two years since Peacock was told she would have to fight for her life.
Now in remission but not fully clear, Peacock is ready to getting back to the life of a normal high schooler.
“It’s feeling more normal. I don’t think we’re back to normal. I don’t know if you ever get back to normal. But there’s more normalcy and that’s really nice,” said Kim’s father, Jim Peacock, reminiscing on the good and bad over the past two years. “It’s non-stop, on-the-edge type stress. I don’t worry as much about Kim every second of every day. Probably worry about her more than you should have to about a teenage kid at this point, but that’s just part of the process.”
Kim is finally back home in Columbia Falls nearly two years after her battle with cancer began. It’s been just more than a year since her bone marrow transplant, and she still goes to Denver once every two months for checkups and a number of tests.
Although she is still recovering and not back to 100 percent, Peacock said being released from the hospital was a positive step in her recovery.
“I think I was in the hospital for 80-something days, something like that,” Kim said. “I think I was going crazy in there a little bit. Just getting out of the hospital was huge, even though I wasn’t allowed to go many places in Denver, but when I came home that was also huge. And being able to participate on the basketball team was great, too, because I get to be with my friends and do things I was doing before my transplant.”
Kim is finally building back toward the normal life she once had here, but she says it wasn’t an easy path.
“At one point I was paralyzed on my left side and that was hard to come back from. I was so weak, I had to relearn how to walk,” Peacock said. “I had to work my way back up to be able to jump half a centimeter in the air, that was huge, or just shuffle run down the hallway. And now I’m sprinting down a basketball floor, which is really big.”
Earlier this year she took a big step in the process when she got some real playing time for the Wildkats in a game.
“Just a happy dad moment to see your kid on the floor,” Jim said, smiling.
“I was getting really excited and really nervous,” said Kim. “When I went in, how loud that cheer was, was pretty amazing.”
Kim may not be back to her dominant self for track or cross country, her favorite sport, in the fall, but that doesn’t matter to the Peacocks. What matters most is that Kim is healthy and happy — she has a new lease on life, and that’s what matters.
“I just want to see her do the things she wants to do,” Jim said. “She’s getting another chance here. She’s feeling better, I can see a change in her demeanor from some of the low spots she had in the summer. It’s just nice to see her doing kid things. Whatever she wants the experience to be is as long as it’s a happy experience it’s great to see. Track this spring, it’ll be the same way. I just want to see her be able to enjoy the things that she used to enjoy, no matter what level she’s competing at.”