On December 26, 2018, John A. Avery would have turned 65. Our father didn't quite make it to that milestone, however. A few days into 2018, he was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer). Although some of the best surgeons in the world were able to resect the tumor, our father was unable to recover from the procedure and passed away from liver failure after 3 long months in the hospital. We hope that the future holds better treatment options for this and other cancers, so that other families don't similarly suffer the painful loss of a loved one.
We watched our father battle cancer twice. In 2000, he was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer — the same disease that had taken his mother just a few days after he married our mother in 1976. Thanks to major developments in cancer treatment during the intervening years, however, he survived. His unexpected recovery was the greatest stroke of good fortune in each of our lives — we each got 18 more years with our biggest fan and the chance to know him as adults.
Perhaps the purest source of joy in our father's late life were his grandchildren, including his namesake, John (“Jack”). Nothing made Dad smile quite like his "little buddy." Unable to grasp the permanence of our father's passing, Jack continues to ask whether Grandpa might be back next summer to take him for a hike in the woods or read a book to him and his little sister, Allie.
Because Jack's hope is an impossibility, we ask for your help in achieving the next best thing. In our father's memory, please help us fund research to find improved cancer treatments. Our dad would want to help others avoid his suffering and our sadness.
Our father’s life left an indelible mark on each of us and influenced some of our most significant life choices. His miraculous recovery from stage IV cancer inspired Diana to pursue a career in cancer research. She helped us choose Stand Up to Cancer for this fundraiser because she understands the possibilities of innovative research and the importance of cross-disciplinary, multi-institutional collaboration.
We cannot thank you enough for your generosity in our dad’s memory.
Lynn, Beth, and Diana Avery