Deeper Dedication – Hand Me Down My Walking Shoes
We interrupt our regularly scheduled blog subject for the following Special Report:
This blog entry is a bit more serious, but that won’t keep me from having some fun. When I got past cancer in 2005, I came up with my own humorous expression about how to live in the light: “Life is too serious to be taken too seriously.” Paradoxically, that’s no joke.
I didn’t need any more motivation to follow through on this journey from recliner to track, but it came to me with news about a friend I made during the 2015 National Senior Games in Minnesota. One of my big duties with NSGA is to plan, staff and manage a complete Media Center, which includes recruiting college interns to serve as reporters and photographers for our online Games Daily News and photo gallery. The University of Minnesota (with grant support by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune) provided a good batch of students, plus a retired professor to handle assignments and initial proofreading. They called themselves Team Go Gopher, which I thought was great esprit de corps. The team photo below was at the pizza party I set up to celebrate victory after the last whistle had blown.
One student stood out on a couple of fronts. Eric Todd devoted his youth to serving our country, and was finally getting his communications degree from UMN in his late 30s. The fully mature beard and confident manner tipped me off immediately. He was a damn good photographer and one of the best writers of the bunch. I never had to worry about Eric delivering whatever was assigned during the frantic two weeks of controlled chaos that the operation existed. We hit it off pretty good, and continued to keep in touch on Facebook.
A few months later, I learned Eric had been diagnosed with Stage III colon cancer. I shared my story and offered words of encouragement to him, and I was happy to hear later that year he had successfully navigated chemo and all of the other challenges that come with the disease and the sky was clearing.
Last week, I saw a Facebook post from Eric that Stage IV metastatic cancer has been found throughout his abdomen and on his liver. I read the journal entries he, his wife Katherine and 16-year-old daughter Victoria have posted about this development, and at the time of this writing he is now back in chemo and looking forward to getting needed surgery at the Mayo Clinic. It’s serious but there’s reason to be hopeful, and I was struck by the incredibly positive attitude and spiritual fortitude exhibited by Eric, his family, and his longtime friends in the journal and his Facebook page. There is no quit in this guy, and I’m now his biggest cheerleader.
So Eric, I want you to know that I have joined TeamEric and will dedicate my competition at the National Senior Games in June to you, buddy. I will be sending out healing prayers every time I walk, and the theme song to pace me will be Dire Strait’s Walk of Life. “Hand me down my walking shoes.” You will be foremost in my mind when I step onto the track at the University of New Mexico to run, er, power walk my race. You can beat this, Eric. You WILL beat this!
I’m indoors. So why is it raining? That’s OK, it’s a healing rain.
Next: I’ll be back soon with some basics about Power Walk and an update on my ongoing preparations.