This month will be four years since my father told me he has cancer. He had waited until he knew his game plan before telling me and my brothers. The extensive chemotherapy was going to be a battle, but it was his best bet to keep on living. After only less than two months into treatments, I wasn’t concerned when I got a call that he was unconscious at the hospital. That’s to be expected when you’re battling for your life! He was still months away from finishing treatments so I saw no need to rush to the hospital. It was a Wednesday when I got the call, and I had a handful of students in my magic class that I was teaching, so I waited until after class to head over to the hospital in Northampton. It wasn’t until the elevator doors opened on his floor that I was suddenly hit with the reality of what I was walking into. There was just something in the quality of the air that told me. I was walking into a room to watch my father die.
The machines were breathing for him. He looked like a bionic man. Half man, half machine. It was pretty badass. Everyone was there. Just like in the movies. We all took our turns alone with him saying our Peace, saying goodbye. I told him that I forgave him. What did I forgive him for? I don’t even know, but it felt like the something that needed to be said. He was a good father. I am who I am today because of him. He’d spend entire afternoons with me at the at the local magic shop. My new friends were his new friends. What more could a kid ask for? Then when everyone had said goodbye the machine told us he was gone. Perfect timing. Magic timing. It was surreal to see the machine still breathing for him even though he was gone. We later learned that complications with the extensive chemotherapy were simply too much for his body to handle. And that if he had simply done nothing he probably would have been able to live for many more months. Perhaps he’s even still be alive today?
There’s extensive research and tests being done today that’s starting to show positive signs that chemotherapy is no longer the standard treatment for cancer patients. This new treatment is called immunotherapy and it uses a patients own immune system to attack and kill malignant cells. Though there’s still much work to be done, the amazing news is that it’s been working. I can’t help but wonder what this kind of treatment might have been able to do for my father. There were still so many things we needed to do. So much more to say. So much more to live.
I recently heard about an amazing group called Climb for Hope. This group is a nonprofit that raises money to continue the important immunotherapy research so that perhaps one day no one has to lose a loved one to violent treatments ending in a painful and agonizing death. The way it works is they assemble a team of hikers, get sponsors, then they go climb a mountain together. What I like about this is that my father was such an outdoorsman. In his younger years he literally lived for a time as a hermit in the woods. He would love that I joined the 2018 team that’s set to leave for a 50 mile rim to rim to rim hike of the Grand Canyon on May 16. It’s been four years since I lost my dad, and by going on this adventure I feel closer to him than I have in years.
Every team member with Climb for Hope is expected to raise $2800 for immunotherapy research. I’m ashamed to say that as of this writing you’ll find on my donation page that so far I’ve raised 0% of that amount. I don’t blame this on the unwillingness of others to donate to perhaps one of the most worthy causes of our time, but rather simply to my lack of salesmanship. I haven’t been able to adequately sell people on the idea that this is such an important cause. But really, there’s no selling involved at all. Just look at the research for yourself. Then look at the lives touched by cancer. A donation in any amount to my Climb for Hope page will be greatly appreciated, not just by me, but also by people that probably none of us will ever meet. But the people we help will be people just like us. People longing to spend just one more day with the ones they love the most.
Please donate now while it’s fresh in your mind. All it takes is just a few clicks and your done. Thank you!
I was born and now it is today.