A Lesson From My Father
In the fall of 2013, my wife, Cindy, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She was strong and determined to beat it, having overcome breast cancer 20 years earlier. A friend of mine told me about the Lustgarten Foundation and I decided to join their local Southwest Florida walk in February 2014. I registered my wife for the walk as a survivor, in hopes that she would become one. But the disease was too much for her and she passed away at the age of 51, just two days after her birthday in May 2015.
After her passing, I contacted the Southwest Florida walk leader, Suzanne Kennedy, and told her that I wanted to get involved with the walk. I was inspired by how my father, who had passed away at the age of 82, had lived his life. Throughout his whole life, he was a very generous and giving man, not only financially, but also of his time. Those lessons took on a new meaning when I, myself, became a widower. I thought it was time to give back, help others, and bring hope to those who need it most.
In February 2016, I became the co-walk leader for the 5th annual Southwest Florida walk. After Ms. Kennedy moved and became involved in the Lustgarten Walk–Denver, I took a more active role in wanting to make a difference in other people’s lives that were affected by this disease. Through 2018, our walk has raised a total of $465,000 and is one of the Foundation’s first walks of the year. In November of every year, I put out a large purple ribbon in my yard to help raise awareness for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month and to remind people about our upcoming walk. The whole neighborhood, including both residents and visitors, know the purpose of the ribbon and the cause that is near and dear to my heart. I am here to make a difference and help find a cure for this disease, and that’s what I do every year by leading the Southwest Florida walk. Thanks for the lesson Dad.