Honor Dad: Donate and Share His Story


On June 20th we honor our fathers and grandfathers with a day all their own. This year we encourage you to show your support by donating to LIVESTRONG in honor or memory of your father or grandfather. When you donate a card can be sent to the person of your choosing. Go to www.livestrong.org/fathersday


Below are stories from LIVESTRONG staffers about their dads. We encourage you to share your dad’s story with us in the comments section below. Happy Father’s Day from LIVESTRONG

My father was diagnosed with testicular cancer nearly 30 years ago, just a few months after I was born. He was in the middle of his medical residency with a wife and two young children. Though I was just a baby at the time, I have grown up hearing about how my father?s cancer journey changed his life and that of our family. As a young man learning how to become a doctor, his cancer experience taught him the greatest medical lesson of all – understanding what it means to be a patient. Dealing with personal fear, anger, depression and anxiety prepared my dad to be the best family doctor that he could be, one that was solely focused on the needs and betterment of the patient. In simple terms ? someone who could provide people hope. When I began working at LIVESTRONG more than 6 years ago, I?ll never forget the conversations I had with my dad and how proud he was to know that I was spending my time in the service of others and that I was working for an organization that cared about people and in their darkest days, brought them a little bit of hope. I celebrate my dad every day by coming to work at LIVESTRONG and I will be making a donation in his honor, along with the millions of other fathers who have fought the good fight. LIVESTRONG!
-Allison Wright

I plan to donate to LIVESTRONG in honor of my dad this Father?s Day because he fought and won his battle with kidney cancer in 2003 and hasn?t looked back. I often joke that I need stay healthy and make sure my kidneys are in good shape in case I ever need to give him one. Working at LIVESTRONG reminds me that I?m really not joking ? it is critical to live a healthy life and to be strong for myself and others. To the many dads and families out there facing cancer today ? keep fighting! Don?t wait to learn the lesson ? every moment counts, so make this a good one!
-Jen Snavely

This Father?s Day I?m grateful to LIVESTRONG because, when my dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2008, they were the first people I contacted for help. They provided us with answers to our questions, tools to keep track of his medical information and guidance through the maze of cancer treatment and doctors? opinions. Two years later, my dad is cancer free. While he did the hard part by going through treatment, dozens of medical appointments and tests, I know that LIVESTRONG played a crucial role in his success. So thanks to LIVESTRONG for continuing to allow me to celebrate with my dad on Father?s Day.
-Melissa Sileo

I am supporting LIVESTRONG in honor of my dad who is a prostate cancer survivor and who epitomizes all that we stand for. He has been such an incredible influence on my life and I am fortunate to be able to honor him in this way.
-Doug Ulman

Cancer took part of my dad?s right lung in 1998. After beating the odds and surviving for almost 12 years, it was ultimately the lost lung that took his life this spring. LIVESTRONG means appreciating every single day with every ounce of your being. LIVESTRONG means fighting like hell despite the ?odds.? On June 20, I will celebrate Father?s Day without a dad for the first time ever. I will watch the US Open with a heavy heart and renew my commitment to LIVESTRONG every single day of my life.
-Colin Wallis

LIVESTRONG and Father?s Day has a special combination in my heart. My dad was the ultimate caregiver to my mom in her battle with breast cancer. I was 13 when she passed away, and my brother and sister were away at college. My dad had to drag me out of bed for school, make lunches, watch pep rallies, soccer and football games, and survive slumber parties, my boyfriends, curfew, shopping?you name it, he was there. Amazingly all was done with a smile, a positive outlook, and an ?I love you? every day. And, I am just one kid out of three! And today he supports both me and the fight against cancer with his infinite wardrobe of LIVESTRONG gear, a wristband, and his loving check-in on me at work and at events. He exemplifies a blessed and focused life on family, health and living life to the fullest. And he is the kind of parent, spouse, and caregiver that I strive to be one day. Happy Father?s Day to my dad and to you all.
-Emy Settle


  1. Adam Butler says:

    My dad is in the fight right now. He has locked horns with stage IV melanoma for over two years. I’ve learned a lot about my dad watching him go through this. He is patient and kind despite the quick moving and angry disease he hosts. Now more than ever I’m seeing who my dad really is. He is writing his legacy in this fight.
    And in every fight you need people that have your back, people that work your corner. It’s often the collective that provides the strength to forge ahead, each person supporting the other until there is a tipping point towards hope. LIVESTRONG is a vital presence in our fight. They have served myself and my family. They have enabled us to fight smarter, harder and longer – of this I have no doubt.
    Proud to give to LIVESTRONG in honor of our shared pugilist – Jack Butler.

  2. Liz Cartwright says:

    My father was diagnosed with brain cancer in June 1999, when I was just graduating 5th grade. The cancer was Anaplastic Astrocytoma and already stage 3 when it was discovered. He battled it with numerous surgeries, rounds of chemo and radiation but lost his battle on February 10, 2001 when I was in 7th grade.
    I’m now 21 and it’s been 9 years since my dad has past. This father’s day I’ll be remembering what an amazing father, husband, and role model he was and still is in my life.
    For all the other dad’s out there fighting, keep it up, you can conquer cancer!
    For the Fight <3

  3. Wendy Peabody says:

    My dad passed away last August from colorectal cancer. This is the first Father’s Day without him, so needless to say it will be rather difficult.
    In every other aspect he was in good health, was very fit for his age, he was 79 and quite active and enjoyed riding his mountain bike around the farm. I sure do miss him…

  4. Diane Swintal says:

    I was planning my December wedding when my Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer. We helped him through the pre-surgery treatments (my post-menopausal Mom got a kick out of his hormone-induced hot flashes!) – but he refused to have the surgery until after my wedding. So there we were, three days after the wedding, waiting at the City of Hope for word on how the surgery went.

    Thankfully, the delay didn’t hurt anything, he was able to walk me down the aisle and 15 years later, at age nearly 89, he’s doing quite well – well enough to help my Mom through her battle last year with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

    They’re both amazing – tough as nails, tho neither would agree with that assessment. And my Dad now proudly wears his LIVESTRONG band every single day, as a reminder of what we’ve all been through – and survived.

    Thanks Dad, for being such a wonderful example of well-being and strength.

  5. John Thomas says:

    My dad was a pharmacist in a small town, which means he knew a lot about who was sick and with what. If someone was fighting allergies, he knew it. If someone had a heart condition, he knew it. And if someone was going through chemo, he knew it.

    For years, when people fighting cancer would come through that door at Washington and Main, Dad would fill their prescriptions with a shake of his head. He?d look across the counter and see the struggle in their eyes. He?d notice the grayish skin, the dark circles under their eyes, the shiver and quiver in their hands.

    As I stood behind that pharmacy counter with him, I?d hear him say, ?I don?t think I could go through that.?

    Then he would add sadly, ?The cure is worse than the disease.?

    That?s what he said ? until he got the disease.

    After that, he?d go through just about anything to fight. Chemo. Radiation. Meds. Pain. Fatigue. Hope. False hope. Despair. Weakness. He went through it all.

    This man who said there was no way he?d put up with the pain of the battle if losing the war seemed inevitable, changed his mind and fought. Fought hard.

    And along the way, he lived. Between ? and during ? the bouts of chemo, radiation, meds, pain, fatigue, hope, false hope, despair and weakness, he lived, and lived well.

    The difference, we discovered, between living with cancer and dying of cancer can be subtle in language but remarkable in outcome. Had Dad held to his old belief that it would be better to die of cancer than suffer through treatment, he would have missed a lot of precious, gratitude-filled days. He stood as best man at my wedding. He held my newborn son. He and Mom traveled more than ever before. He spent wonderful, quiet mornings, afternoons and evenings alone with Mom, and enjoyed clamorous visits with old friends and family.

    Sure, he had his awful days, and cancer did ultimately claim him, but it didn?t get to kill him on its schedule. It had to wait for him to live some incredible, post-diagnosis years.

    Dad?s my hero because he chose to engage in a battle he had feared for decades. He taught me something simple and clear: If you?re fighting, you?re living. And living is what it?s all about.

  6. Jerry Kelly says:

    Fathers Day has mixed feelings for me. I lost my dad to cancer 13 years ago. I miss him and try to honor him everyday. That’s one reason I stay involved with LiveStrong. Fathers Day is also special because I try to be there for my kids, everyday, to help however I can. And again, my daughters are another reason I stay involved with LiveStrong. Guess this year will be special though because I was just told I’d be a grandpa by Fathers Day 2011.

  7. Joe Salerno says:

    This Father’s Day is the first without my Dad and will be tough for my whole family. My Dad was a prostate cancer survivor who spent the last years of his life caring for my sister who has been battling Hodgkin?s Lymphoma since 2002. He drove every day in all sorts of Chicago weather to get her treatments so she could live a long and wonder life. Three stem transplants later including my own stem cells and a myriad of treatments, she still battles to beat this horrible disease. I ride the LiveStrong Challenge and train every day for my sister and her closest supporter, my Dad. The saddest part of my story is that our Dad died of ALS, Lou Gerhig’s Disease, before he ever got to see his only baby girl beat cancer. My Dad was a a husband, cancer survivor, our friend, our supporter, and our hero. I wish he were here so I could say it to him myself. See you in Philly for the LiveStrong Challenge 2010!

  8. José Aguilera says:

    My father is fighting today to his lung cancer. His diagnostics was made 3 month ago. We are now fighting with him, it has been very import for him the company of the family, friends and work partners. I thanks god that we keep fighting with hope to win, and tomorrow we will be with him at fathers day.

  9. Kelly Smith says:

    I will be donating and running a 5k on July 17th in honor of my dad, Brian Smith, and his side of the family. An avid runner, in 1985 he was diagnosed with Leukemia and 11 years later he won the battle and overcame.
    He then retired from 30 years at GM, and became a “curator” for a local museum in northern Michigan (Kaleva Bottle House. He became very passionate about the museum and in 2005 he helped organize and create an annual 5k run in Kaleva to help support the Historical Society associated with his museum.
    In late 2006 he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Dad fought hard. He believed until the very last day that he would prevail and win the battle again, just as he had before. Unfortunately the cancer took him pretty quickly and he was gone within a few months.
    The 5k race still goes on every year but is now known as the Brian Smith Memorial Run.
    I will be running not only for my dad and his passion, but for his family. Cancer has not been kind to the Smith family…it has taken both his parents, 1 of his sisters and 3 of his brothers. He has another living brother who is currently fighting lung cancer as well.

  10. Michele Jakoboski says:

    My family participated in the Livestrong Challenge Philly last year and will again this year to honor many friends and relatives but mostly to honor my father. We are Grand’s Cru because though he was known by many names–Joe, Jake, colonel, sir, Mr J, Daddy–his favorite was the name given by his grandchildren–Grand.
    He was a survivor of the Pacific theater in WWII, the skies of Korea, Da Nang, Vietnam and 13 year survivor of prostate cancer. He was an AF officer, a nuclear engineer, a high school teacher, a man of faith and much more.
    Unfortunately he was also a victim of this dreadful disease when colon cancer took him in Nov 08.
    We all miss him-his silly puns, jokes and advice on everything! Proud to be his family we will do our best to fight as Grand’s Cru. Happy Father’s Day Grand and to quote the words you used so often we “love you forever”!

  11. John Dinou says:

    My dad suffered from alcohol, and tabacco addiction for years. He and I had no relationship, and didn’t even say a word to eachother for about two years until he began attending AA meetings when I was 16, which completely turned his life around. We began to develop a father-son bon for the first time in my life, and by the grace of God he was being transformed into a very loving man. Right as we got to that point, he was diagnosed with lung cancer at the beginning of 2009. He passed away in march 2010. He was a warrior, and his new-found trust in God gave us all hope, but my dad’s recovery just wasn’t part of the big man’s plan. I miss him so much, and think about him multiple times a day. I wish he could have been here to see the rest of my life play out but I know hes up there watching me by the side of our God. Having two fathers looking down on me, I know I am always protected. I am so proud of my dad for the way he fought, and for the change he made in his life. Cancer can never take that memory I have of him.

  12. Carol says:

    My dad died in 31 January this year, from a sec leukaemia and primary multiple myeloma. He was strong and rarely complained despite the pain and discomfort he was constantly in. He loved us in a very quiet but caring way. He helped us live good lives and to know what is important in life, family. My mum passed away from ovarian cancer on 12 may so whilst we aren’t with dad this fathers day, my mum is with him and I take comfort from that.

  13. Maria says:

    My dad has been fighting cancer since 2004 and he has been threw so much in these 6 years. He was diognosed with colon cancer, liver cancer, kidney cancer and now only has one kidney. He has literally been threw hell and back. He has 3 daughters and 2 grandchildren. There were a few times we were told that he was going to lose his life but with god by his side he has got threw everything. I don’t know what I would do without my dad and I’m so glad he is here this fathers day. Dad keep fighting hard because I’m blessed to have you here with us. Happy fathers day daddy and I love you lots!!!!!!

  14. Christie says:

    My dad’s dad died of advanced colon cancer that had taken hold of his entire body when my dad was 11 years old. My grandmother was a full-time nurse. So my dad started working in the peanut fields and the railroad when he 13. (This was before child labor laws.) My dad is extremely hard working, still to this day, and I wouldn’t a) be here without him and b) be the person I am today without him.

  15. Stacy Burton says:

    My dad was diagnosed with late stage 3 early stage 4 lung cancer on his
    birthday in July of 2005, he passed away in march of 2006 after an aganozing battle with cancer… Even after being diagnosed with cancer he continued to work and provide for his wife and children. Three months after being diagnosed he was taken out of work by the drs. After months o chemotherapy and radiation therapy he passed away. I learned so much from my dad in the short 16 years I knew him. He taught me lessons I couldn’t have learned anywhere else but a father. I appreciate everything he did for my family and all thenlessons he taught… May the road rise to meet you, may the wind always be at your back, may the rains fall soft upon your field, until we meet agin may God hold you in the palm of his hand…. RIP Dad (Johnny Charles Burton) 03.06.04

  16. Tom Crouch says:

    This will be my first Father’s Day without my Dad. He passed away December 18, 2009 after complications with his second round of cancer. He fought hard to the end, but it was his time. I have made it my goal to support LIVESTRONG in anyway I can and to spread the word, trying to get others involved in hopes more lives can be saved. I am riding in Austin this year in memory of my dad and other loved ones I have lost from cancer. This is indeed a tough day. My dad was only 74 when he passed. Cancer Sucks.

  17. Haydee Ramirez McWhinney says:

    My first father’s day without my dad. I miss you so very much. I am glad to know you are no longer suffering the wraths of cancer. You fought a good fight dad. I am proud God picked me to be your daughter. I love you.

  18. It’s been a long road for my husband Ron. He had no symptoms when he was diagnosed with Stage III Colon Cancer in 2005. It was caught during a routine physical. Ron had a third of his colon removed and resectioned, followed by extensive Chemotherapy. He enjoyed a brief period of remission. Then the cancer reoccurred in both lungs. So, he had thoracic surgery, radiation and numerous types of chemo. We were told he had exhausted all options; that the etiology of his cancer is slow growing. That buys us some time. We went to a research facility to explore clinical trials, but found there is another approved treatment to try. He is a wonderful father to our girls, and I could not ask for a better husband. Happy Father’s Day, Ron! Here’s to many more!!!!

  19. My Dad was a retired AF Chief and he was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away at the age of 56. He was and continues to be an inspiration to me everyday. I will never forget many of life’s lessons he taught me and the outlook he had on his own illness. I wont ever forget when he told me that he lives on within me and to “keep smiling”. I still remember the last Father’s Day I had with him and the way he trumpeted around saying “it’s my day, it’s my day!!!” I will always miss him and he always puts a smile on my face. I love you Dad!

  20. Mark says:

    My dad died was I was 7 months old from testicular cancer. He was diagnosed and was told it was terminal about a month after he found out my mom was expecting. He fought hard, enduring rounds of chemo and held on until I was 7 months old.

    I am now in my early 30’s (the same age as my dad when he died) with two small children of my own. Each day as I try to figure out how to be the best dad I can be, I try to imagine what my dad was like and the advice he would give to me.

    My first child was born 30 yrs after my dad died (literally the exact day, hour and minute), and not a day goes by without me reminding her to LIVESTRONG!

  21. Hope Carter Kowalewski says:

    My father, a retired OB/GYN, has always been used to taking care of others. He was diagnosed June 5, 2005 with advanced prostate cancer and had abdominal radiation at our cancer center and we traveled to University of Maryland for chemo. He almost lost his battle in October of 2005 not from the cancer, but a toxic gallbladder that was misdiagnosed for several weeks. He was in the hospital, critical care, specialty care, nursing home, and then rehab hospital for 7 months. For 5 of those months he had a large LIVESTRONG yellow poster hanging in his various rooms and is still now hanging in his bedroom. He has worn his yellow wristband that whole time, too, except when the surgery staff removed it. He is actually on band #3.
    It was my honor to sit with him and read, talk, sleep and shiver during his chemo treatments and advocate for him during his gallbladder fiasco. He has always been so strong for all of us and having lost my mom to a glioblastoma multiforme in 1999, he needed our support.
    Just this week he got a new PSA result that shows no change in the number! He is now a 5 year survivor and tries his best to LIVESTRONG every day (if only we could get him new knees!). Happy Father’s Day, Dad!!
    Thank you, Livestrong, for being my support. I often read stories, got your survivor notebook, and wear yellow as I remember my mom’s battle and uplift my dad in his survivorship. I hate this disease of cancer, but I am so thankful for your presence to help us all live with it.

  22. DMV says:

    I’m going to watch you in twitter and I hope I could study more of something similar to this.

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