Dave Parish via Crowdrise
April 16, 2012
Nicholas Spadafore wrote -
About eight months ago, God blessed me with one of the most important people I have ever met in my life, Cassie Hines. Cassie and I were introduced through mutual friends at Michigan State, where Cassie went to school. After we met, we began talking and getting to know each other. Everyday it seemed like we found something new we had in common, whether it was a favorite food, favorite dream vacation, or even our favorite T.V. show (Family guy). Soon after that, Cassie and I started dating. One night when we were talking, she shared with me something very personal about herself. She told me that she had cancer. It was a rare form of kidney cancer that she’d been battling for 4 years. I felt very sad and wanted to do all I could to help her. But Cassie stressed to me how important it was to her to live a normal life. She told me that she never wanted anyone to give her any special treatment; she was a fighter full of grace and strength.
Cassie and I spent a lot of time together. I would visit Michigan State or she would visit Western Michigan, where I went to school. We felt very connected and wanted to spend every minute together. One night, a few months after we had been dating, Cassie mentioned she had some pain and numbness in her arms and legs. She told me how scared she was that she would need to go back to the hospital and put her life on hold. I talked with her and comforted her and she agreed that she needed to see the doctor. Tests revealed two small tumors had developed on her spine and removing them would require two surgeries.
Cassie’s first surgery was successful and after a slight recovery she underwent her second surgery. The second surgery was not as successful and required a longer hospital stay. During this difficult time in the hospital, Cassie, her family, and I had a lot of very special and fun times together, bonding and growing closer to each other. One moment I had with Cassie that I will always cherish was our “Date Night.” During one of our visits, I brought in carryout so we could have a dinner date in her hospital room. We spent the night talking, eating, laughing, and walking laps around the hospital. (She would always wear me out!!). Towards the end of the night, Cassie and I shared something that I will hold dear in my heart forever. We were lying together in her hospital bed, when Cassie said she had something to tell me. At first I was scared that she had bad news, but I was wrong. She looked over at me and told me that she had fallen in love with me. I remember being overcome with emotions. I was so happy, excited, and nervous. When we looked into each other’s eyes that night, we both realized how much we loved each other. I’ll never forget how I felt when we shared that moment together
After that night, I had to go back up to school and Cassie had to stay in the hospital for what we thought was a little more recovery time. Unfortunately, soon after that, my parents came up to school to give me the terrible news that I’d spent many nights wishing I would never hear. Cassie’s cancer had spread to her liver and she was going home on hospice the next day. I was devastated. I remember feeling so helpless, I wished that I could just take all the pain and cancer away. When I finally saw Cassie later that night at the hospital, I laid next to her and we both cried about the terrible news. Cassie promised that she would never give up fighting and I promised I would never leave her side. Cassie fought her battle on hospice for six weeks. Those six weeks were filled with moments of overwhelming sadness and shared laughter with her close friends and family. Cassie has changed my life. I believe that God sent her to me for a reason. She has shown me the true meaning of love, strength and perseverance.
To honor Cassie, I have chosen to compete in four physically demanding events each one representing a year of Cassie’s battle. I hope to raise money for the foundation her family has set up, “The Cassie Hines Shoes Cancer Foundation.” (Cassie loved her shoes!) The foundation funds will go towards helping young adults with cancer, ages 16-30, to attend camps and support groups.
Thank you all very much for your support and donations.