Dear 2014 Spring TNT participants:
I was thinking about all the things I missed these last 11 years because of lymphoma. I never got to hike up Tumbledown Mountain in Maine with my wife and good friends, a trip we had planned to do together. I missed my friend’s fiftieth birthday party on the same excursion.
I would have loved to have been present at the birth of my granddaughter, to hold this sweet little bundle that day, filled with instant love for her. But I couldn’t, nor could I celebrate her birthday each year, watching her grow a little bigger each time.
I never got to go to Alaska to do that incredible marathon for Team in Training. I also never got to do marathons in San Diego and Arizona, and half-marathons in Nashville, Seattle, and Hampton for the same great cause – to raise money to help find and fund a cure.
My wife and I always wanted to go to Glacier, Grand Tetons, and Yellowstone National Parks, and also to Alaska. But we never got to any of those places together, all because of that lousy Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis in 2002. Too bad, because it would have been amazing!
In 2007, my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she died in May of 2011 from this awful disease. I wish I could have been there to give her some support and comfort. Likewise, I wish I had been around to celebrate her 60th birthday along with the rest of the family.
Speaking of birthdays, it would have been nice to have been around to celebrate my wife’s birthdays, and our wedding anniversaries, and Christmases. It must have been lonely for her.
And, it would have been amazing to have walked in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure 60 mile walk to honor my sister’s memory – and to sleep in a pink tent! I hated to miss that!
Those are just a few of the big moments that I missed in the last 11 years. And when I think of all of the little day-to-day moments of joy that I missed as well, it is almost overwhelming. These little moments may not be earth-shaking, but they still help to weave the rich and colorful fabric of our lives. I missed so many things!
Now, the statements about the things that I missed are false. I actually did do all those things, and many, many more as well. But had my 2002 cancer diagnosis turned out differently, I easily could have missed all of them. Because of effective research on my type of cancer, conducted years before, I had such a great chance to survive. However, many others don’t have that same chance. You, by your sacrifice and hard work, are giving hope to others who don’t have much now: giving them the chance to build their own great memories, just as I was able to do!
I want to thank you for all you are doing for this cause, and for tackling such a tough challenge. I wish I could have been here with you today at the Silent Mile, my 11 year remission anniversary weekend. But up in Pennsylvania, I will be (silently) cheering for you and thinking of your efforts and sacrifice. Thank you so much!