June 18, 2008 He fought and he fought hard but never let cancer get the best of his amazing spirit or faith.
Holistic diets, stem cell transplants, chemotherapy and radiation, the Mayo Clinic and City of Hope—he did it all but ultimately, multiple myeloma won that battle with my Uncle Paul.
Naturally, he'll be on my mind next weekend when we take to the Capac High School track for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life—him and about a dozen other people currently battling cancer—a cousin's wife, great aunt, friend's mom, professor's wife.
He had an otherworldly capacity to love and show genuine care yet when his plasma became too damaged to function properly and that normally finely-tuned system between the blood and bones was corrupted, no equally miraculous cure could be found.
Not the prayers, medicines or his fortitude changed that fact and it may be the same for the thousands of other people in this country with multiple myeloma.
While I say that I'm walking in his memory, the words seems trite. His fight was horrendously painful and lasted for years. I've managed to send out letters and emails, organize a few fundraisers, shoddily pieced together this column and ultimately, scraped together a few hundred dollars for the cause.
Feeble? Of course my efforts can't compare to his. I had a choice to participate. He didn't have a say in the matter.
But, I'm finding that participating in the Relay has been a good remedy for the overall feeling of helplessness that fills my mind when I think of people battling cancer or any of the slew of terminal diseases out there.
Everytime I hop on the Relay Web site, I'm amazed to see how many people are walking and for some, the thousands of dollars they've raised. Obviously, lots of other people have their reasons to lace up their walking shoes, host garage sales and bowling tournaments and fight the beast we know as cancer.
If you can, consider donating by going to www.relayforlife.org or just stop by the track sometime June 28 and I think you'll be inspired by a community of people taking meaningful action.