ATLANTA -- More than 60,000 people from all across the world took part in the AJC Peachtree Road Race on July 4th.
But, of all those participants, one person was missing: a boy named Collins.
"I think about Collins a lot when I'm running," said his father, Bob Dixon. "I think a lot about our one-on-one time and just ... just different thoughts."
When Bob is alone, he thinks of Collins. And when he thinks of Collins, he thinks of the time they spent together -- and how that time was cruelly cut short.
Collins was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2011. By last fall, the tumor appeared to be shrinking, but it suddenly went in reverse and had exploded by the turn of the new year. When we last visited Collins at his home in early January, he could barely move, but his faith and spirit were as evident as ever.
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"I knew no matter what, he would always love us, and we would love him," his dad recalled. "And that's what I hold onto, those precious last few days and moments we had with him to tell him we loved him."
Collins passed away on January 14th at just 12 years old. Every day his family walks outside and stands at his memorial that graces their lawn.
"It's a time to reflect, and a time to think about what I can do in his honor," Bob said.
Bob decided to run the AJC Peachtree Road Race in Collins' honor. It had been a goal of Collins since he ran his first 5K last year; since he wouldn't be able to do this, Bob picked up the baton -- and invited Collins' brother, 15-year-old Ron Chastain, to join in the run.
"We were brothers, but we were best friends," Ron said. "I still go to bed every night crying myself to sleep because I miss him."
Collins' father and brother ran the Peachtree, completing it and viewing it as a celebration of a young man who they believe was running alongside them.