Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A boy, a boxer, a marine, a logger, and a truck driver

Quite a mix, huh? And what do they all have in common? Well, other than the last four being big strong guys, one thing....cancer.

I was going through my desk the other day and ran across an article from back in the early nineties on a small boy who was dying of cancer. We were collecting funds at the diner to try and help out the family.

I remember that young man just like it was yesterday. He had such a great spirit about him. He was always upbeat and happy. The only time I saw him down at all was when he was dealing with medication.

He would come in and the two of us would walk over to the truck stop store and play with some of the toys and just talk. I remember well a time when we were walking back down the hallway that lead between the truck stop and diner. He grabbed my sleeve and I stopped and bent over to listen to him. "Lyle, I would really like to race you down the hall.", he explained. I had to think real fast on this one. I knew that he was not in good health but I also knew something else. He did not have much time left.

I said OK and bolted down the hallway but the young lad was just to fast for his older friend and he beat me down to the end of the hall. The smile on his face was precious. The hug that I got was priceless. But...the "I love you" was unbelievable. It was one of those precious moments that will leave an imprint on my memory forever.

Fast forward to the present and the other four. All big guys and all great men. For one reason or another, all of them have impacted my life. And cancer is taking them all.

The Boxer died on Monday night, the Marine is in hospice, and the Logger and Truck Driver are struggling to hold on. Four men who did or don't know one another. Four families devastated by this disease that we don't seem to be able to control.

We spend ten times the amount on aids and yet cancer takes ten times the life. Aids is somewhat selective (blood born) while cancer is very random. What do we do about that? I am not sure. Other than to assist the various cancer funds and to encourage our leaders to change this wrong priority, I am just not sure.

I wonder where I am being lead on this issue. I have spread myself so thin but this one is hitting home. These four strong men and one precious little boy have grabbed a piece of my heart and we will just have to see where they take it.

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