For My Father

Ashley - Cortland, New York
Entered on December 22, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, illness

I believe that my father is stronger than his cancer. Even though it has now spread from his colon, to his liver and to both of his lungs, he is still fighting strongly. He refuses to let this disease take over his life or stop him from doing the things that he enjoys.

“I am the healthiest sick person I know,” he often tells my younger sister and me. At first this seemed to be an odd statement to me, but I guess it does make sense. It’s turned out to be a rather optimistic motto.

Even after a failed surgery and years of weekly chemotherapy, he still goes to work nearly every day. He drives a thirty-mile commute on a busy interstate and battles the inner city traffic of Syracuse to work for a labor union, which focuses on helping other people. It is inspirational to me that, even though he is sick, he still focuses mainly on helping other people rather than himself.

He is by far the strongest willed man I have ever met. His condition has taught me to value every precious moment of life, and to spend as much of it as I can with him.

I decided to leave the working world and enter college five years after my high school graduation. I did this in large part for myself, but also for my father. He wants to see me graduate from college, and I want to give him that joy and satisfaction before he dies.

Whenever I ask, he claims that the doctors don’t tell him how long he has to live. During Thanksgiving break of my freshman year, I asked him if it were possible for him to live well into old age with his cancer. He replied that it was not only possible, but also probable. I don’t know how much of what he tells me regarding his lifespan is true, but the very fact that he refuses to allow himself to give up, at least in the eyes of his daughters, means so much to me.

Not only is he stronger than any other person I know; he is definitely stronger than his cancer. He just has to be.