This is a tribute to my brother Rob, whom the world lost to a brain tumour November 30, 2005 at the young age of 54.
I say the world lost him because he made an impact on so many people during his lifetime. Allow me to explain: he was number two son to proud Rita and Gerald - an excellent brother to five siblings - a loving husband to Val - and the best of dads to Geoff and Matt. Although we all knew and loved him from this close family perspective, I never knew until he was gone the tremendous impact he had on his High School students.
You see, Rob taught Chemistry, Biology and Math at College Catholique Franco-Ouest in Nepean from September 1993 till he got sick in March 2005. During his tenure at school he had an 'open door' policy, and often skipped lunch to be available to coach his students. So much did he touch the lives of these wonderful young people that they came by the hundreds to his visitation and memorial service. Our family was in absolute awe, from the outpouring of love for him, by his students and faculty alike.
On the home front, Rob was always active building, gardening, camping with the family, at his sons' hockey games, walking their dog Summer. In fact, before he was married, he ran the Montreal Marathon in the 1980s. During one of my recent visits, he confided that the last few miles were brutal, and he'd never attempt a marathon again. As a recent runner myself, I attribute that comment totally to a lack of training knowledge available in the 1980s rather than to any lack of absolute determination and commitment on his part. He did it all on his own.
And so I have come to the point of this tribute - the best way that I can prolong Rob's memory in all of our lives, while preventing loved ones being taken too soon in the future, is to provide you with this challenge - I have been training for over a year toward my first marathon run, and I am now ready. I will be running the Mississauga Marathon on May 13, 2007 in Rob's memory and honour. If you have family members or friends that have been struck by cancer, please support my run with your pledge, and help me find a cure. I would also ask that you forward this challenge to all teachers, runners and survivors in your database.
All proceeds will go toward the Canadian Cancer Society, for research in Canada, so that scientists can continue to search for a cure. Please use this opportunity to give generously, and we can together save some lives in the future - perhaps the very life of someone you love. Thank you.
UPDATE MAY 10 2007
Hello Everyone - well, it's 3 days to go, and I'm very excited to be providing you with this update.
My family and I have been overwhelmed by the Canada-wide support Rob's Tribute has received. We have heard from Rob's friends in Greenfield Park, Quebec, as well as Kanata, friends of my sister Peggy in B.C. and many of my friends, clients, Investors Group colleagues, and running mates in Ontario.
Donations as of this morning total over $3,500, including on-line pledges and cheques received directly. You have made a difference, and a cancer cure is one step closer, thanks to you.
Last Sunday morning was our final 16 Km run with the Oakville Running Room Team I am training with. We ran on the beautiful Beach Trail in Hamilton, directly on Lake Ontario. It was 7:30 a.m. and the sun was shining brightly from across the lake. Along the way, I could sense Rob's presence. I know that he will be with me in spirit at the Sunday Marathon.
I'd like to recognize our Marathon Training Leader Mike Perge, and the six new running buddies in my group, all of whom are running their first Marathon ! I have posted a photo at 'Fund Photo Page' (above) taken at last Sunday's Hamilton Beach run.
If you have not yet had an opportunity to donate, there is still time - either on-line here, or simply by cheque payable to "Canadian Cancer Society", mailed to my office #1020, 1 City Centre Drive, Ontario, L5B 1M2. I will deliver it on your behalf.
Following the Marathon I will post a final Update here - so be sure to connect next week.
Thank you sincerely to all of you for your enthusiastic support and best wishes.
UPDATE MAY 16 2007
I'm really happy to advise that I safely completed the Marathon.
This was a once-in-a-lifetime event for me, until now. So, its very satisfying that I ran with no injuries or incidents.
At 7:30 a.m. on May 13, some 5,200 runners gathered at the Square One Shopping Centre for the starting gun. It was 8 Deg C under sunny skies, and no wind. Most of us got down to one shirt within an hour, as it warmed to a beautiful 12 Deg - perfect for running !
I ran strongly with a group of 8 friends, aiming for a 4:15 finish. After 30 Km, my legs started to stiffen a little, and it became challenging to maintain the pace - at this point in the race, it becomes a mental game, and I thought of Rob a lot, as well as all of you supporting me. I soon crossed the Finish Line in a time of 4:22 hrs.
Along the way, my friend Hall and his Boy Scout troup were manning a Water Station; and Virginia cheered me on at the Port Credit Bridge.
There is a photo in the Fund Photo Page, taken with 200 meters to go, and still running strongly. I feel truly blessed to enjoy such good health.
As of this writing, you have helped me raise some $4,600 to fight cancer, and the total is still rising. There is still time to donate, if you've not yet had a chance to do so. Your Charitable Receipt will follow in 2 weeks.
In closing, all I can say is many thanks to all of you - family, friends, clients, colleagues, runners -for honouring me with your encouragement and your gifts in this opportunity.
All the best !