I wish that cancer was just a word or a scary story….

One never knows who we’ll meet traveling through life. I want to highlight someone I am privileged to know for the most wrong reason imaginable.

I met Adam Tolley due to what must be the most horrific thing one could face: cancer. I have the utmost respect for this young man. He is riding in a well established bicycle ride fundraiser (www.pelotonia.org) to raise funds to help fight cancer. He is doing so in remembrance of his younger brother, Andrew.

Adam also chooses to focus on a few others affected by cancer and has been kind enough to include me over the past few years. I am honored beyond words.

In preparation for the grueling bike ride this year, he decided to mark up his legs with some names. Read each carefully folks, this is not child’s play.

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I am a member of the Burkitt’s Lymphoma Society. Adam joined the group after his younger brother Andrew was diagnosed with Burkitt’s. Not only did Adam join, but his mom, Andrew’s sister, and also Andrew joined. Not often our group has seen young teenagers join our group, much less the whole family.

Andrew Tolley was a bundle of life, known for his humor, smile, and quick wit. We all wept when Andrew passed exactly one year from the day of his diagnosis at the age of 15. I just cannot fathom such pain. As of this writing today, Andrew would be 20 years old.

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Andrew’s mom shares he was so sick with chemotherapy and Burkitt’s Lymphoma when this photo was taken. It is her all time favorite pic. Andrew let nothing slow him down and his radiant personality shines forth clearly right in the midst of fighting for his life. I absolutely love that this picture proves that cancer CANNOT stop the zest for life we all carry deep in our souls.

Andrew wrote something in the privacy of the Burkitt’s group. I was floored when I read it then. I am still shaken deeply when I read it now. Andrew was really fighting at this point. I marvel at the wisdom and insight from a brilliant 15 year old teenager as he battled this absolutely shitty cancer.

Shared with permission

Everyday I wake up and try to put a smile on my face but it’s so hard to look towards the future positively. I know that is not how I should be thinking right know but sometimes in those hard times when I’m at my lowest point that’s the only way I can think. I do however try not to look negatively toward the future for fear that’s what will happen so I try to look positively toward the future even in the hardest time. It’s so hard just to sit and listen to your family say that they wish that there was something they could do but at times all they can do is sit and watch. If someone in my family told me there was a way that they could take my spot I would tell them no. The main reason why I would tell them no is because I don’t think I could handle watching someone else in my family go through what I have to go through. It is hard enough for me to go through it and I don’t want anyone else in my family to go through what I have to go through. I don’t know if that’s selfish but that’s how I feel. In a way I’m glad that all this is happening to me and not someone that isn’t as strong as I am. It’s not fair how the world works I wish that cancer was just a word or a scary story that people told at camp to scare the campers.

(bolding and italics mine for emphasis)

Truth be told, I cry every time I read this. I have copied this paragraph to my phone. I did so when Andrew first wrote this. I was blown away at the selflessness and maturity of such a young soul fighting for his life.

It is NOT fair how the world works people, it is not.

Adam, Andrew’s older brother, has had his share of grief and personal demons from losing his younger brother. I have watched and communicated a touch with him, encouraging him to keep trying. Adam is channeling his grief and focusing his life on certain things, things that are helping him to make it to the next day.

You see, I don’t believe success is success because we ride a bike to raise funds, as admirable as this is. Adam, just like his mom and sister, are successful because they chose to face another day carrying a hole in their hearts they should not have to carry. They get up and face a world that is not fair and choose to honor Andrew with their lives in their own ways.

Adam is countering his pain with an intense bike ride that gives 100% of every dollar raised to help fight cancer.

Check out this 30 second video (click this highlighted sentence) that Huntington Bank made for Adam as he rode in last year’s Pelotonia fundraiser.

I wish that cancer was just a word or a scary story that people told at camp to scare the campers.

Would you say a prayer for the Tolley family?

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If you have an extra $5 bill laying around for a burger, would you consider donating to Adam for this ride?

Adam’s Pelotonia Bike Ride Information (might be very slow to load)

Posted in burkitts, cancer, courage, family, fundraiser, generosity, Grief, hope, humanity, life, lymphoma, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Can You Help?

I want to say something here. I try to be careful about fundraising on Facebook or my blog. Truth be told, I could weekly post deserving families who are in dire financial needs. Oh my gosh, the suffering that is brought on just by Burkitt’s Lymphoma alone is staggering.

Colin has been sick since 2014, his battle began with Burkitt’s Lymphoma. It has continued now and morphed into one major battle after another.

One thing that has struck me is the continuing desire of Colin’s mom to steadily communicate with so many people, sharing insightful details of his battle. If you want to take hours reading well written insight into acute and chronic suffering of a family, check out Colin’s Facebook page. I double dirty dog challenge you to go onto his FB page and start reading first from back in 2014 when it all began. There are many ups and downs, all written with delicate insight, and a few special surprises along the way.

All families are deserving of help. I do not post such pleas as this one lightly. If you are a giving kind of person whatsoever, even just $5, you would be shocked at how that little bit makes a difference.

Wonder how I know such to be true? Because of all you did for me when I was sick in 2014. The help and love given to me was outstanding and overwhelming.

Please consider doing the same for this family. It is the small, private things we do that I believe God will look upon with favor, those simple things that help another. You can trust me when I say that quiet help our family received during my second battle (and my first!!) with Burkitt’s was so helpful and put me into tears so many times.

Let’s hope you never ever need the same kind of help.

Thank you.

 

Posted in burkitts, cancer, chemotherapy, family, finances, fundraiser, generosity, Grief, hope, humanity, lymphoma, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Zoe Meme #121: Puppuccino

Well folks, this particular Zoe Meme explains itself. Isn’t she rotten and adorable? The poodle is too (smirks). That would be Zoe and her human, my youngest daughter.

I’m going to take a step back from Zoe Memes for a bit. This is the last one for now. These will eventually start back up when the mood hits. I have some projects I want to accomplish and need to make time for them.

In the meantime, remember your hope is in Christ alone. The greatest commandment should be our greatest pursuit in life. IMG_2403

Posted in dog, family, happy, hope, humor, joy, life, love, Meme, poodle, toy, Uncategorized, Zoe | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Very funny Chili Humor

This is a really humorous short story about a man who got to judge a chili contest by accident. 

Very funny. 

Click this to read!

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Zoe Meme #120: Pounce

Oh my gosh, my grandogter’s human (aka my youngest daughter), what can I say? She treats this dog so bad sometimes. I mean, look at that face! The poor dog is obviously starving, exhausted from being so cute, and desperate for a french fry!

So the poodle strategy begins in her quick tiny noodle brain. She sets up the strategy of attack by acting like she is disinterested.

Her unnoticed muscles tense for the pounce. Her normally round black eyes narrow to small focused slits.

This picture is deceptive. Or is it? I think she is ready to pounce on those fries. My daughter said she was exhausted and lazy.

My grandogter Zoe is all of 4.7 lbs when wet and unshaven. Her appetite though, is the size of a Labrador’s stomach. Actually, having owned labradors, I can tell you this dog would fit nicely into the size of a Labrador’s stomach.

Poor thing.

In the mean time, she sits and stares at the fries, those crispy salty delicious human fries. Those things are not going to eat themselves.

She will pounce given the first chance she gets. If not, just throw some cheese (<–look back at the first Zoe Memes and her obsession with cheese) on it and she will go for it!

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Posted in addiction, beg, food, humor, joy, life, love, Meme, poodle, toy, Uncategorized, Zoe | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Zoe Meme #119: BROLLEAGUE

I have been a ‘murse,’ a male nurse, since 1990. I work in an area that has few fellow male RN’s. I work in a neonatal ICU, a NICU. It isn’t the job I thought I would do when I graduated from nursing school, but it clearly is the job God has for my heart.

The NICU I work in is large, with many separate areas branched across a portion of the hospital between two floors. We employ something like 175+ RN’s. We work long shifts and most of the time work only 3 shifts per week. The chances of working with the same someone repeatedly is not realized often.

Meet Roger. He is a brother colleague, now designated as a ‘brolleague.’ He has worked day shift since I began working in this particular NICU. He is spending a spell on nights this year. This has afforded us the opportunity to work together.

Our first night in the same section of the unit, we spontaneously took a picture. I didn’t know if we would work together again. Being the character I am, I made the pic into a quick man cave meme and put in on our private NICU page on the face place.

Then we had the pleasure of working together again and found we had a bit in common. Coffee, as you can see, was one of them. We are both fathers, love to BBQ, love our job, and like to laugh about goofy crap. This necessitated another meme and posting on the NICU private page on the face place.

We discovered we failed in our bro code to drink beer on a day off. We rectified that situation quickly at a local brewery.

We then worked together a third time and that is when I codified the NICU Murses phrase onto a necessary meme for our NICU group. I doubt I’m original with that wording, but a beer convinces me of many things.

I thought I would give you a glimpse into uncommon world of NICU Murses.

Meanwhile, we have beer to drink and babies to fatten up so they can go home.

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Posted in baby, beer, Fathers, friendship, humanity, humor, joy, life, Meme, NICU, RN, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Zoe Meme #118: Dare

This is not a stance of play?, it is a full head on dare.

Meet Amigo, my dogphew, cousin of Zoe my grandogter. Amigo’s a big strong dog that has finally mellowed about one tail wag now that he is eight human years old.

This is one powerful dog. He dared me to pull my arm out of socket holding that thing. I mean, this dog has four legged drive in reverse with low gear grinding hard when that pull toy hits my hand. His endurance level is sustained with a never tiring mystical source of energy when his uncle Robert enters the room.

He is even tricky. You see, he likes to emit a strange mostly clear slimy gooey substance onto my portion of the pull toy handle so that it will slide out of my hand just as my shoulder dislocates.

He’s smart like that.

Will you accept his dare?

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Posted in beg, dare, dog, happy, humor, Pet trick, toy, Tricks, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment