This is me and my dad, circa 1971. Of all our daddy/daughter photos over the years, it’s my favorite – I look grumpy, he looks like Elvis. And yes, that stroller is probably solid lead and I’m certainly lucky to be alive. Check out his tan line from the watch he evidently decided not to wear that day.
I don’t know what was going on that day. From the attire, I’m guessing I was taking a springtime stroller ride to my grandparent’s house, which was a block away for the first 16 years of my life. My dad probably had the day off work – he worked construction on hydroelectric projects, so days off were pretty precious to him – and my mom must have cajoled him into having his picture taken with Baby Girl. The rest of the day’s agenda is long forgotten. I do know, however, that about 12 years after this picture was taken, my dad was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and spend the next several years fighting cancer. And that kid in the stroller would spend her high school years being “the kid of the guy with cancer”, always spoken in hushed tones. To be blunt, none of us (including his medical team) are quite sure how he survived. I’ve jokingly stated that my dad has been trying to die of cancer for 30 years, but hasn’t figured out how yet. This is not far from the truth, as we’ve dealt with the effects of disease and chemotherapy on his body and a relapse a few years ago.
In March 2012, my firefighter friend Alex is driving to Seattle, donning 75 pounds of turnout gear, taping this photo of Dad and me to his helmet, and racing up 69 flights of stairs to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. You blog diehards may recall that I will be volunteering at this event. We firefighters in training don’t get to climb stairs (DARN). There will, however, be up to 1500 firefighters participating – and the honor of participating in the event is via a PURCHASED TICKET. This year, those tickets were gone within an HOUR of their availability online. I get asked a lot why I chose firefighting for my blog project this year – here’s one of many reasons, dearest reader. A prime example of the character of those who choose the life of a first responder, which deserves to be acknowledged and applauded.
Anyhow, the time has come to start raising funds for this event. All of the funds we come up with will be donated via the Stevens County Fire Protection District No. 1 team, of which Alex is a member. My bff Mike at Red Devil Training also serves as the chief of this district.
Here’s a link that you can use to donate online to this event, at whatever level you like. If you are squeamish about giving your credit card information out online, I can process a check for you. Just contact me directly and I’ll provide you with my mailing address (you can email me here or you can post your email address as a comment to this post). Your donation can be made in your own name, in honor of someone else, or anonymously, if you so choose. Also, if you have a website/blog/or if you are a business person, I would be honored to show you my gratitude by adding a link to your site here on my blog for the year. Again, message me and we will work out the details.
I have no doubt that this organization played a role in the development of my father’s treatment back in the 80’s which saved his life and gave him the opportunity to watch his kids and grandkids grow up. Maybe you have someone in your family, maybe a friend, who has been hit with either leukemia or lymphoma. Maybe you don’t have that person with you anymore. If you aren’t the child of a survivor like I am, but rather the child of a victim, God bless you tonight.
One last note – here’s a link to a video of Stevens County 1 participating in the 2011 Stair Climb. I’ve watched it, oh, a zillion times. I don’t know who created it, but they did a really good job. And yes, the big honkin’ omelet scene makes me want to gack. Stevens County 1 obviously needs me – they don’t know that firefighters are supposed to be Vegan.