September 20, 2017
On January 20, 2017, my family received some of the most devastating news a family could hear. My stepfather was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. This was an extreme shock for us, as he had been suffering a backache and upset stomach for a few months, but blood test results were all coming back normal. The doctors, up to that point, had told him he had arthritis in his back and some minor stomach conditions that could be improved with diet and medicine. Despite the prescribed remedies, his pain worsened, he had trouble eating, and he lost 25 pounds. My mom rushed him to the E.R.; a visit that both extended his life and hit us with one of life’s most overwhelming low-blows. The cancer was encasing arteries and had already spread to his liver.
It’s both incredible and terribly unfair that life can change so quickly. My dad has always encouraged my sister and me to “be the change.” He is a prime example of someone who leads by example. My dad is a man who took on two daughters that weren’t his and raised them as his own, always respecting and never overshadowing their father. He always encouraged us to be strong, educated, independent women who could do anything we set our minds to. My dad showed us first-hand how hard work and dedication breeds success, and because of him I have never been afraid to set goals just beyond my reach and work my tail off to achieve them.
My family is one of strength and encouragement. We are all positive and trusting in his doctors’ treatment plan. We are not a family that stands back and waits for something to happen, we dig deep and persevere. My dad deserves a fighting chance at a long, healthy life and so does everyone else fighting this terrible disease. If this is the least I can do to repay him for everything he has done for me and my sister, I will go out there, run my heart out, pray for a cure, and raise as much awareness as possible along the way.