Yesterday kicked off one of the greatest months. The one month a year when women can stop waxing their upper lip. Movember. A whole month dedicated to people trying to grow crazy mustaches all for the sake of ending prostate and testicular cancer. This year I’ve decided to join the Columbus Blue Jackets staff in their efforts to raise money for the battle against cancer. Everyday in the month of Movember I will post a picture of my mustache, a dedication to those who have battled cancer, and a lesson I learned from them.
Today’s dedication goes out to two time cancer survivor Richard Shircliff. That’s right my dad kicked cancer’s butt not once but twice. In the early 90s he was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma. At that point in time stage 2 was considered a death sentence. During this battle we lived right outside of Chicago. Six hours away from our family we all leaned on each other and God for support. This moment in our lives was pivotal in creating the bond my parents and I have today. If it wasn’t for experimental drugs and radiation my “today” would be a lot different. I cannot guarantee I would be the same person I am today if I grew up with out my daddy. I wouldn’t know anything about musicals. I wouldn’t know how to do my taxes. I probably never would have gone to Walsh Jesuit High School. I also wouldn’t appreciate the things life has given me. As much as my momma tries to beat it in my head that my life is good it doesn’t always take. Sometimes my daddy just knows how to lay it out there. For instance, when I was younger I complained about not having video games or Air Jordans. My mom tried to explain to me our lack of funds because as we all know cancer treatments do not come cheap. I can be pretty bull-headed and continued to hound my momma day and night. “I want Jordans. I want a Sega. I want cable. I want to be like everyone else. Why don’t we have nice things? Blah Blah Blah.” My dad finally had enough. He was supposed to take me to a sleep over but when we got to her house the car didn’t stop. My dad turned onto Ogden Avenue, drove out of Lyons, and just kept on driving. I had no clue where he was taking me. If you know anything about my daddy you don’t ask questions in serious situations. Why? The answer will usually be “You will sit there and shut your mouth.” Trust me, you will shut your mouth. So instead of questioning where we were headed I stared out into the night sky. I watched the neighborhoods slowly get worse until we ended up in front of a homeless shelter in the south side. I watched as all kinds of people walked through the doors. Women with only the clothes on their backs. Children holding a doll. Men in tattered jeans. No one looked like they had showered. Many looked worn out and thin. I just watched in silence. Finally my dad asked “Do you want to live here?” I didn’t answer him. “That’s where we will end up if we buy you everything you want. We barely have the money to live but we can. We are lucky to have a roof over our head and food in our fridge. You are lucky to have all the ninja turtle and more than one pair of clothes. We are lucky.” After he finished his statement my daddy started the car and drove me home. I remember crying myself to sleep. Not because I couldn’t have what I wanted. I cried for those who couldn’t have what they needed. In that one moment my dad instilled a lesson of appreciation within me. A lesson I would never of learned had he died.
Let’s help save more dad’s lives so they can pass their fatherly knowledge onto the next generation. Please join me in the fight against testicular/prostate cancer and donate to the cause here.