This Is Why - Kyle Ryan

On Father’s Day 3 years ago my wife and I told my parents that we were expecting our first child. I’ve never seen my father cry, but tears were streaming down his face. It’s like he knew that the cancer was coming. My father died 10 days before my daughter was born. 


I’ll never forget sitting across the hospital room from my father as we talked about his most recent round of golf. He had a great day on the course (chipped in for birdie on #8) as he always did because he loved the game and the camaraderie it brought with friends. In this moment, we didn’t have all the answers or know everything that was going on, but we knew his diagnosis was serious. In the coming days and weeks, we’d come to find out it was a brain tumor, a gliobastoma. This diagnosis was about as terminal as it could get. 


My own diagnosis with cancer 10 years ago set some of my expectations. I had been a healthy 23 year old with very few worries in the world when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This diagnosis was shocking in the moment, but the treatments, side effects, endless travel between hospital rooms and doctor’s offices, constant poking and prodding weren’t why I hated cancer. 

Cancer is a great separator. Cancer taught me the real value of friends and family. Cancer taught me who I could depend on, lean on, and surround myself with. Cancer also taught me that our lives are all so different, that my experience will in no way compare to yours. We continue to move forward in the wake of destruction that cancer leaves in our lives. 

I hate cancer because it stole an irreplaceable person from my life but more importantly it stole him from my children’s lives. They will never get to hear the highlights from his rounds of golf or the same story for the 99th time or the contagious energy that he shared. He was one of a kind and always made you feel like you were the only person in the room. 

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I hated cancer while going through treatment because it stole a year from the prime of my life. I hated cancer because of the impact it had on my family around me and the pain it put my family through. I hated cancer because the people who couldn’t deal with the reality of pain and suffering and death were pushed away by it. I hate cancer because it took my hair (OK, that may have been in the works already).  

I hate you, cancer and I hate the memories that you both created and stole. You have not won though because at the end of the day you simply strengthened our spirit and solidified the memories of those you took from us too soon. 

Michael Walsh