Thursday, September 17, 2009

my motivation

I've already written before about my Uncle Bill.

I've written that Uncle Bill is our son William's namesake, in large part, because when my parents were going through their divorce, Aunt Grace and Uncle Bill turned their home in to a safe haven for my family.

I've written that although Uncle Bill was diagnosed with cancer almost five years ago, and he was told that he only had three-months to live, he has surpassed all of his doctors expectations. In fact, of all the patients that he was in clinical trials with for various medications, Uncle Bill was the only one that survived.

I've written that he believes he can do anything that he puts his mind to, so long as it is on his 'to do' list. Soon after he was diagnosed with cancer, Uncle Bill visited a hypnotist to help him get his mind around the disease that was plaguing his body. Shortly after that, Margaret tasked her father with building her a new house. Which he built. He then planted a vineyard with his grandchildren - in hopes that the money generated from grape sales, will help fund their college educations and give them a jump start on life.

And then he did a whole lot of other things.

Different projects and tasks to keep his mind busy and his body going.

Although he has Stage IV cancer and was in the midst of treatment, Uncle Bill committed to being at the finish line when his daughter Margaret completed her first marathon. Although he had broken his hip in December, he climbed aboard a plane, flew 3,000 miles across the country (and back again) - took a cab - a train - and a bus so he could be there.

He was at the finish line with the biggest smile I have ever seen and not just because his daughter had successfully completed 26.2 miles, but because she was on a cancer crusade that raised almost $15,000.00 for research - treatment - outreach and education.

Last night my cousin Margaret called and for two hours, we talked about her dad. We talked about the flowers that he would bring to his daughters on Valentine's Day when they were teenagers in school - and .... so much more.

Uncle Bill has an extraordinary gift for making people feel special.

He genuinely listens and is interested in children. He has a deep compassion for those who are down on their luck. He has a talent, unlike anyone I have ever met in my entire life, to make you feel like you are important. When you are with him - he makes you believe that you are the most valuable person in the world. He makes you believe in yourself.

And he is able to do all this, because he sincerely believes in you.

Jim has been asking my mother for years to get married. But it wasn't until recently, that my Mom finally said yes. Two weeks ago today, Mom and Jim drove out to visit my Aunt Grace and Uncle Bill for a visit and while they were there, Mom decided that everyone needed a mood-booster.

Because my Uncle Bill is such a hopeless romantic, and because he has been such a pillar of strength for my family, and because my mother apparently had a marriage license she was carrying around in her pocketbook (!!), she and Jim decided to tie the knot, right then and there. With my Aunt Grace officiating the wedding ceremony and my Uncle Bill serving as a witness.

It was just the four of them.

Two of them are sisters.

Three of them have known each other for the past 70 years.

Four of them are now married couples.

All of them are best friends.

It was incredibly special day for everyone involved.

(My Gracie with her namesake, my Aunt Grace)

When people ask me why I would complete a 60-mile walk when my toenails still haven't healed from a marathon I completed three months ago, or how I have the courage to keep reaching out and asking for donations, or why, during dire economic times, I would put my own money out for fund raising events (when my husband is trying to spend it all on a start-up business), I tell them, "It's easy to do when I think of what the people I love have to go through."

If my Uncle Bill can fight as hard as he has, I can fight too.

One day, we will find a cure.

So. Who wants a bracelet?


  1. maybe it's my tired eyes (husband has been out of town for 35 days, with 32 left) but I don't see HOW to order? HOW?? How do I send money to fight CANCER? And I really do need help being Amazing, as my patience for the 3 kids and job are wearing So so thin. I wish I could say I am making my kids feel that important, and that is my GOAL, but I don't feel like there are enough hours in the day. May these bracelets be a reminder.

  2. Beautiful... and I wanted a bracelet before I read it. *winks*

  3. You're Uncle Bill is an amazing man. I will be praying for him.

    Thank you for being amazing. :)

  4. ...tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat... sending prayers for your Uncle Bill's comfort and the continued strength of your wonderful and amazing extended family.
    Sign me up for some bracelets!

  5. I DO!!! Hooray for your mom and thanks to your uncle for his wonderful inspiration.

  6. I do! I do! A pink one please.

  7. I also meant to add that you're an amazing writer that makes us feel for your family as they were our own. Please send some hugs from us to Uncle Bill.
    Can you make our total order be one pink adult, one green adult and one pink child bracelet? Thanks a ton.

  8. Your Uncle Bill will be in my thoughts and prayers. What an amazing person. Everyone should have someone like Uncle Bill in their life.

    (Carolyn's Boards)

  9. ME. Send me a hundred freakin bracelets. Or better yet, just tell me where to send money and you can throw bracelets to people as you walk.

    I am bawling. But....its a good cry. Thank you for this post.

    Thank you a lot.


  10. Thanks for the update on your Uncle Bill. I have liked him since the first time you have written about him, and tonight's stories from his daughter just add to his precious person. You have been blessed with such an Uncle!!

  11. I wish we all had Uncle Bills in our lives. The world would be a much better place.

    I'd love a much are you selling them for anyway?

  12. so sorry to hear about uncle Bill, he sounds like such a kind, lovely person. . . it's truly amazing & inspiring when people are able to deal with illness the way uncle Bill has (& the way my friend Fern did). good luck to him and may everyone remember his legacy!

  13. Oh Jen, Such a beautiful post. You have truly inherited the compassion and determination of Uncle Bill. {I have to stop reading your blog in work.}

    My thoughts and prayers are with Uncle Bill and his very extended family.

    Peg O.

  14. Beautiful just beautiful. I made a small donation of 5 dollars. I don't expect a bracelet as it would cost more than that to send it over here. I really love that you are doing this.
    ps this is my first time making a donation online, a bit scary for me!!

  15. Your Uncle Bill is one amazing man. He reminds me of my Larry, who has made it to rehab and doing very well. He was diagnosed with colon cancer that spread to his liver in 1994 and despite many, many setbacks is still here all be it with a new hip and a rebuilt knee as of last week.