We all know this, we’ve heard the rhetoric, we’ve done our part for charity.
We all know someone who has suffered from a form of cancer.
We all know someone who has lost the battle.
We all know survivors.
Today, I received news about two of my friends.
One friend was lucky, she found out her biopsy results were benign. She lives to fight another day. While I haven’t known Stephane all that long, she’s a fighter through and through. I know this because she’ll challenge you to a fight if you cross her in any way, shape, or form. Don’t be rude to her, don’t be a racist, don’t root against the Patriots, and you might… MIGHT! … avoid getting called out for a fight with Stephane.
Another friend, sadly, couldn’t fight any longer. Andy’s fight against lung cancer was a valiant one, and he put up a more determined fight than anyone could have hoped for… unless you knew Andy, how he would never give up, how he handled adversity. It’s not fair that a good man could be taken by lung cancer at the age of 35, leaving behind a wife and a young son. Even less fair when you find out that Andy was not a smoker.
I first met Andy when we were in the seventh grade. We hung out throughout middle school and high school, and then lost touch after we went off to our respective universities. In 2004, we reconnected when we were both groomsmen in a mutual friend’s wedding. By then, Andy was living in Los Angeles, working in the Hollywood machine, most recently on the crew of the television show Criminal Minds. I was going back and forth to LA frequently at that time for business, and I made it a point to meet up with Andy and his wife-to-be on each trip.
Unfortunately, when my trips to LA for business dried up, my visits with Andy did as well. We fell out of touch again. And now reconnecting with him isn’t an option.
Thanks to Andy’s brother Tim, I followed his fight against cancer from afar, rooting for him silently, thinking about him, hoping for him. I’m sorry he’s gone, but I’m happy that he’s no longer in pain.
Rest in peace, my friend. You are missed.
Update: A photo of Andy and Jen at the premiere of “Swan”, a documentary about Andy. Photo courtesy of Sherry Sims, via Facebook.