This is not an easy post for me. What do you do when the subject of a very personal post has passed away? In this case, the “he” is my father. I suppose I should edit it to reflect that my father was, not is. “Dad was such a fighter…” But is that harsh? What an impersonal, simple, yet very profound switch… verb tense.
My father lost his battle with carcinoid cancer in March of 2011. While he was ill, he never gave up hope, and he never stopped fighting. This post, written after walking the Boston Marathon with the Jimmy Fund in 2009, reflects the hope that he instilled in all of us. So pardon my French, but screw you, verb tense. The rest of this post is left just as it was written in the Fall of 2009. My father may have lost in the end, but there are many others out there who will win the battle against cancer. So keep fighting.
My Dad is a fighter in the purest sense. About five years ago he dedicated himself to cycling, enamored with the idea of biking a leg of the Giro d’Italia. One day, as he was on a training ride, he was hit by an SUV. I will always remember the ride to the hospital — we traveled by car, Dad in a helicopter. Radiologists typically communicate their diagnoses from the confines of their offices. In my father’s case, the radiologist got up from his chair and insisted on seeing my Dad in person; he was in sheer disbelief that someone who broke ribs in 27 places was still alive. A subsequent catscan revealed another hidden surprise, cancer.
Carcinoid cancer is a very slow-growing, incurable disease. In support of my Pa’s fight against this little “speedbump” in life, I decided to walk the Boston Marathon with the Caring for Carcinoid Team in late September. I arrived at the Hopkington start around 6am to begin the journey. There were hundreds of walkers, many of whom had raised thousands in memory of, and in support of their heroes.
I had some time to think during the event (seven hours, to be exact), and I realized that walking for someone is more fulfilling than walking for yourself. So I will continue to walk for my Dad. In fact, I’d like to hike, trek, run, mountain bike, snorkel, ride, and ski for him, too. That is, until he’s back out on his bike and kicking my butt.