Thursday, March 27, 2014


It's no secret that cancer sucks!  I won't bore you with stats and facts about how awful cancer is because I'd be willing to bet that every single one of you know first hand how much cancer blows.    I'm pretty confident that everyone has a friend, family member, coworker, classmate, or neighbor who has fought the disease or cared for someone fighting the disease.

In the past, every 2-3 years I cut 8-10 inches of hair and donate it to a company who makes wigs for cancer patients.  (it's been 4 year since I did it last and I cannot wait to chop off this mop after my bff's wedding in May!)

This year I decided to do more.  I'm joining a team of awesome individuals (including my cousin who's been involved for a few years now) in the fight against cancer. We're participating in the Relay for Life event in LaJolla, California.  For 24 hours in June we will walk/run around LaJolla high school celebrating remembering, and fighting back against cancer.

Part of the purpose of this event is raising money for cancer research and programs that support cancer patients.  I'm terrible at asking for money from people so instead I decided to share with you the stories of the people who I'm racing for.  The people who inspire me, are important and special to me and are fighting or have fought this terrible disease.  If you feel compelled to donate, there is a button on my side bar that will take you directly to my donation page.  If not that's ok too, I'm just happy to share the stories of friends and family who are some of the most courageous people I know.

My grandfather was very instrumental in my upbringing.  I was the first grandchild and admittedly a little spoiled by my grandparents.  There were a few years in high school and into college when things weren't exactly great at home so I spent a lot of time with my grandparents.  After my parents split in 9th grade, my mom and siblings moved to Indiana and I lived with my father who worked a lot and didn't drive so my grandparents were the ones that came to my school events and sports games.  They were so supportive of my education and helped me when times were rough.  I loved them like they were my own parents.

In 2007 my grandfather was diagnosed with lung cancer.  My world changed in an instant.  Thankfully, at the time, I was living in Cincinnati and was able to help with rides to treatments and doctor's appointments.  It was an awful time in my life but I was so grateful to be able to spend that time with him and my grandmother.  

Cancer is an ugly disease that ate away at my grandfather for a long time.  It changed him in so many ways but the most significant to me was his attitude.  It softened him.  He was a Marine who fought in the Korean War and never lost that hard, thick shell that Marines are known for...until the cancer.  He was still stubborn to no end but he softened a bit in those final years.  When times were bad they were bad but when they were good they were really good.

He fought hard for 2 years before the illness overtook his body.  Those last few months were a difficult but special time in my life.  Jason was deployed and I was able to spend countless hours with my grandparents.  I would take my grandmother out to lunch and we'd spend hours at the nursing home visiting my grandpa or waiting for him to wake up.  She was my best friend for years but I never felt closer to her than I did during that time.

Not a day goes by that I don't miss him/them (she passed away 2 months later).




Katie said...

Such a precious memory! You are so blessed to have been so close to them! I'm sure they are so proud of you for doing relay for life!

Carrie said...

Aw, this made me tear up! Your grandfather sounded like such a special man! So sorry he had to go through what he did, cancer really does suck! :(