Sunday, February 3, 2008

A Reason to Relay

RFL If you know me very well or have been reading this blog for a little bit, you know how important the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life event is to me. I have participated in this event for the past three years. I am the Paws for a Cure team captain and Online Chair for the event this year. You can click on the image to the left to check out our web site.

I debated whether to post this on my blog, but I have family & friends who read my blog + I've met A LOT of amazing people in bloggyville. A lot of you have experienced cancer personally and others have had a loved one who has battled cancer. Unfortunately, almost everyone can say that they know someone who has been touched by this terrible disease.

For those of you who don't know my story, I wanted to take a moment to share it. I wrote the following for the Faces and Stories of Cancer section of our web site. Here is my story:



Lost His Battle in 2006

Oral, Lung & Brain Cancer


In 2001, Daddy was diagnosed with oral cancer. He had surgery in April 2001 and went through 6 weeks of radiation and was deemed ‘cancer free’ later that year.

In November 2004, we started noticing a change in the way he was walking, his memory, his speech, etc. We begged him to go to the doctor. After much convincing, he finally went to the doctor in February of 2005. On February 23rd, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The next day, he went for additional tests and was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

Doctors suggested radiation & chemotherapy, but the prognosis was not good, either way. He was given about a year with treatment and 3-4 months without treatment. He begged us to make the decision for him, but we could not do that. We told him that we would support him in whatever decision he made, but we were not going to decide whether we would loose him sooner rather than later. He opted to undergo treatment. He went through radiation on the brain tumor. It shrunk slightly, but it was not a significant amount.

In May 2005, we took what would be our last family vacation to the mountains of North Carolina. He was unable to do much of anything, but he thoroughly enjoyed sitting on the deck which overlooked the 15th fairway of the golf course. The family dog, Lizzy, joined us on this trip. She was his constant companion & we believe she helped make his battle a little less difficult for all of us. After this trip, he went through a complete round of chemotherapy and started another round, but decided he didn’t want to continue it.

In October 2005, he was admitted to the hospital after my mother came home from work to find him lying in the bedroom floor, unresponsive. He was diagnosed as having an additional brain tumor. From that point forward, he needed round-the-clock care. We were blessed to have friends & family who could help us with this. I was blessed to have a job where my bosses never made me choose between family & my work. I was able to spend a great deal of time caring for my daddy in the last year of his life & those are memories that I will always cherish. I am forever indebted to my bosses for the opportunity they gave me to care for him.

He fought a hard fight, but by the time Christmas arrived, we knew it wouldn’t be much longer. On Sunday afternoon, January 8, 2006, my mom & I took a much needed break to just get out of the house for a few hours. We had been gone about 15 minutes when my brother called to tell us that we needed to come back to the house because daddy wasn’t breathing very well. By the time we arrived, EMS was there & working with him. I knew that the last hug, kiss on the cheek and “I love you” that I had shared with my daddy just 30-45 minutes before would be the last.

He was taken to the hospital and we were told by the ER doctor that it was just a matter of time. We called friends & family and said our last goodbyes to the man whose life was going to end far too soon. Around 3am, my brother & I went back to my parents’ house, at my mom's request, to take care of the dog and try to get a little rest. At 5:05am, the phone rung and what we had dreaded for the last 11+ months had happened. Daddy lost his battle at 5:00am, January 9, 2006 - - - almost a year to the day of his initial diagnosis. His death was peaceful.

On January 12th, we gathered at our home church for a memorial service to celebrate his life. It was a wonderful service. It is a true celebration to know that he is no longer in pain, has a new body and is in Heaven with Jesus. We know that we will meet him again someday. Until that day, we will celebrate the time we had with him, remember him always and fight for those who are going through cancer and who will face it in the future.


My personal fundraising goal is $1,000. We will have a luminary ceremony at the event. This is where decorated bags are filled with sand, a candle placed inside and then placed around the track. They are lit during the luminary ceremony, which honors those who have been touched by cancer. They are $10 each and all proceeds will go directly to the American Cancer Society. If you feel led to contribute towards this wonderful cause, please go here to make a contribution. If you would like to mail a donation, purchase luminaries or have any questions, please feel free to go here to contact me.


I say a HUGE thank you in advance for your support of this wonderful cause!!!



Dee said...

thank you for sharing your story, I can tell he was a much loved man!


BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

Thanks for sharing your story about your precious daddy!