When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Rick vs. Chordoma

Today I want to share a story of a wonderful man and his family who are going through a difficult time.  Rick, the father of one of Noah's best friends, was diagnosed last fall with Chordoma, a rare and difficult to treat form of cancer that occurs in the bones of the skull and spine.  He has already undergone brain surgery to remove part of the tumour, and is currently in the middle of radiation treatments, which involve driving to and from London (over an hour away) every day from Monday to Friday each week.  While I can't know for sure what worries and fears and struggles Rick, his wife Carole, their daughter Jess and their son Christian must face every day in this journey they're taking together, I imagine it must at times seem overwhelming, terrifying, exhausting, and unfair. 

The strength and togetherness of the Gehl family in the face of such stress is inspiring, to say the least.  Rick, who has always been a warm, kind, and hilariously funny man, still often shows up in the school yard to meet his children at the end of the day, and the smile on his face does not reveal even a hint of the war he's waging inside his body.  He is facing his illness with optimism, telling jokes and speaking candidly about what he's going through, and showing the world just how far a positive attitude will take you.  As is evident in their daily lives and in the heartfelt messages they've written for Rick on the website the family has set up to share their story, Carole and Jess and Christian are with Rick every step of the way; they are lifting each other up with their love when the weight of what they're facing falls heavily on any of them.

Rick, Carole, Jess and Christian are surrounded by a wonderfully supportive network of extended family and friends who are helping them in various ways during this time.  A one day hockey camp for kids aged 6 to 12 has been organized as a fundraiser, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to assist Rick with the financial burdens of his battle against cancer.  If you know children in the K-W area who would be interested in a fun day of hockey skill development on the ice, games in the gym, and lifeguard supervised swimming, please consider signing them up for this event.  (You can find more information about both the camp and Rick's story here.)  If you live outside of K-W or do not know any young hockey fans, then please lend your support for Rick and his family in the form of positive thoughts or prayers.  Both Rick and Carole have said how difficult it is for them to accept others' help, even though they are so very grateful for all of the kindness being shown to them.  Knowing how much they have given to others just by being themselves makes me certain that there is no one more deserving of all the support we can give.

Our hearts and thoughts are with you and your family every day, Rick.  Keep up the good fight with hope and courage, knowing that there are many, many people in your corner.



  1. Hi! I must say that I have just read your bio and the intro to your blog and I am already hooked. I do believe we may have a similar outlook on things.

    "we gather up the precious bits of our many experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later" --this is so beautifully stated.

    I, too, write so my head won't explode. Thanks so much for visiting my blog and I look forward to exploring your space more!

  2. Thanks so much for stopping by, Summer! I really appreciate your kind words, and hope to see you around here again! :)