One pilot in the Great Texas balloon race is inspiring others with his own personal battle against cancer.
Overcast skies and a low ceiling grounded pilots for a third straight day at East Texas Regional Airport. It was tough news for pilots like Kinnie Gibson, of Lake Cherokee, who loves to do battle with other pilots in events like this.
"I actually started flying hot air balloons in 1978. Actually it would really kind of eat at you because you didn't get to fly," Kinnie says.
Gibson also knows what it's like to be in a different kind of battle.
"I learned New Years Eve that I had a mass in my lung, learned a few days later that it was cancer, after that it had moved to my brain. It is treatable although I went from stage 3 the first week to stage 4 the second week," He says.
The 58-year-old has gone through treatments while participating in the U.S. nationals. Getting grounded for another day is frustrating, but not devastating for Gibson.
"At first I was going through chemo, 4 different chemos. On the bad days, you just keep going like it's a good day the best you can," says Kinnie.
He's not letting his personal battle get in the way of his passion for ballooning.
"There's nothing I like to do better than to go out with my balloon," he says.
As in life, he plans to win.
"Doing a good battle with cancer. You might as well go ahead and throw it out there, double up your fist, do the best battle you can. Go have fun. You got to keep punching and don't let it get you down," Gibson says.
Gibson's brain cancer is currently in remission. However, he is still being treated for cancer in one of his lungs.
Like the rest of the pilots, Gibson hopes he will get the chance to finish the competition with a Sunday morning flight.
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