|Uncle Bill in 2008|
In January of last year, he was planning to come to Florida for a visit. About a week before his trip, he found out that the pain he had been having in his stomach was cancer. In a matter of moments his trip was cancelled, chemo was scheduled, and his life was changed forever. That February he married his long-time girlfriend, had surgery to remove the tumor, and celebrated his 61st birthday. In March and April, he tried to take it easy, allow his body to heal and recover but he also made time for a quick honeymoon in Catalina. In mid-April, he was able to return to work for a few hours a day. He told me he looked forward to feeling better and getting back to his life. For a while, I thought it would happen, but on June 2nd he passed away.
During those months, while in the midst of the battle for his life, he made it his mission to raise awareness about ALS in his San Diego community. He personally contacted his local ALS Association (ALSA) president and got his philanthropy group, The Parrotheads (he was a big Jimmy Buffet fan), involved. Thanks to his unwavering dedication, The Parrotheads added the ALSA to the groups they support with charitable donations (no small feat, I assure you). Did I mention he did all of this of his own volition while fighting cancer?! A true act of love and heroism in my book!
I was fortunate to have spent a couple of years living near him in San Diego before either of us knew the horrible but different deadly illnesses we would face. We took the opportunity to share meals and family time together and I am left with many happy memories...and a hero!
Happy birthday Uncle Bill and thank you!