Hello family and friends,
On October 13, 2019, I will be running the 42nd Chicago Marathon (yes, it is 26.2 miles long) in Chicago, IL. This will be my fourth marathon and second for charity. This race has extra special meaning however, because this time my Grampy Butch will be watching over me versus me getting a chance to call and tell him I did it. You see, one year ago, I lost the man whom I admire more than words can say.
Grampy Butch was a man of smiles, simplicity and laughter. He taught me about golf, forgiveness and loving even when I didn't want to. He loved TwinRiver, Herbies, the VFW and his family. He came to every sporting event he could when his chauffeur would drive him (no, he didn’t have a license and yes, Grammy Bev was the driver). He gave the best hugs and always slipped the grandkids a $20 when we visited. He advocated for me even in my darkest of times and never stopped being my cheerleader. The older I got the more I realized how special he was…he was my person. In late 2016, my Grampy had a heart attack (that no one would know about) that forced him into having triple bypass surgery. He didn't complain, he just smiled and said that he hoped this would allow him to play golf again. On the morning of his surgery, I drove up to the hospital and sat with him from 5am until 7:30am talking about life and memories, about getting older and reaching goals. He told me not to cry and that whatever happened to him, that I should know how much he loved me. It wasn't until I watched the nurses take him away that I balled my eyes out. True to his word, he made it out of the surgery and regained his smile, but sadly his health did not get better.
After visiting hematology at St. V's in Worcester after multiple strange symptoms and no one knowing the answer to his questions, we brought him to Boston where a group of doctors discovered he was suffering from Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). MDS is a group of diverse bone marrow disorders in which the bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells. MDS is often referred to as a “bone marrow failure disorder”. At his age they told us, a bone marrow transplant was not feasible, and chemotherapy would not solve the issue. We were left wondering what we could do. I took days off from work to drive Grampy to his appointments in Boston, drink Bloody Mary's and do the hokey pokey with him. Sadly, because of his failing health we never made it to breakfast with each other like he promised me.
On August 27, 2018, a day after his 77th birthday, and with the entire family surrounding him - my person, biggest cheerleader and best friend, Grampy Butch passed away. I am forever grateful I got to say goodbye in person. I held his hand until the end. From the moment we found out he needed a triple bypass open heart surgery, I refused to leave his side as he battled through recovery and shortly after those doctors’ appointments that would leave us dumfounded for answers. And I refuse now, to let this happen to other people.
I hope you will consider supporting me as I raise funds to support the Hematology Research Fund at Brigham and Women's Hospital, in hopes that no one and no family sees a loved one suffer. The Hematology Research Fund at the Brigham is cultivating a rich research environment designed to strengthen and find cures for the most challenging human blood diseases. I will run 26.2 miles slow and steady (please, y’all know I am not fast) with the best guardian angel and cheerleader out there. I love you to the moon and back Grampy.
Thank you for your love and support, no matter how big or small.