11.10.2005

Outta sight! For Keith W...

Guess what song is stuck in my head tonight?

I just heard it on Minnesota Public Radio's very awesome station - The Current... Have you been there? Go have a listen. It isn't all mouldy oldies. They have a very eclectic mix. Great stuff.

Anyway, this evening's selection included my current earworm...

David Cassidy and The Partridge Family singing - I Think I Love You

Ahh the childhood memories! Gray Street Lives!


Tonight's run is for Mr. Keith W. A class act if ever I met one. I met Keith the first time a few years back at a benefit concert for the White Bear Relay For Life. This concert was being performed by David Bailey, one of our favorite BT warriors. If you haven't heard my speak of him before, you should do a little surfing of his website and see what is so special about him. He's an incredible guy with some really powerful music about hope and survival. If you happen to see that he's going to be in your area, I highly recommend you go see him. If he isn't, then head on over to cdbaby and have a listen to the samples of his music and pick up one or two of his cd's. I recommend Coffee With the Angels, my personal favorite.

Okay, back to the topic at hand. Keith is an eight-time cancer survivor. He was diagnosed with colon cancer back in 1994 and heard about the Relay For Life back at that time. He and his wife Patty started the ball rolling in White Bear Lake then. They co-chaired it there for ten years. Keith still serves on the National Relay Advisory Team and is the Chairman of the Midwest Division Task Force of Relay.

He also had a daughter Lori, who ended up dying from cancer in 1998. Her cancer type? I don't remember. It was the other story about her that sticks in my chest and made me weep again over the weekend as he told it. It was the second time I heard that story. The first time was at that David Bailey concert a few years back. I wept then, too.

Keith and his wife have been powerful movers and shakers for the White Bear Lake Relay For Life. And when I say powerful? I do mean powerful. When he sets a challenge over there? It isn't so much a challenge as a statement of fact. It's kind of incredible how that happens.

We had to leave Relay University early on Saturday because I had to get back for the Indoor Marching Band concert. As Cari and I were crusing down the hall after meeting up once our morning breakout sessions broke up, I saw Keith standing out in the hallway. I headed over to him to thank him for the powerful talk he had given at the breakfast session. I reached out to give him a hug because after a talk like that, it's what I had to do. Even though he doesn't really know me. Well, I have to tell you that was some hug. The man can give a bear hug like no other. It envelopes you in comfort. But you know how when you're a kid and someone says, "Bear hug!" and then they squeeze the life out of you and cause you so much pain that you think you are going to simply fall over and never get back up again? Keith's bear hug? No pain.

"Where are you headed now?" He asked. Perhaps trying to get some sort of handle on who I was, because I had simply told him thank you and not introduced myself or said that I was from the Hudson Relay to give him any clue as to who I was. So then I told him that I had to head back to Hudson early. I then asked him if he had seen David Bailey lately because I knew that not only did he book him for the fundraiser, but they were somewhat friends, as well. It kind of happens that way for both David and Keith from what I can tell.

It sort of dawned on him then who I was I think. Because he and I have emailed back and forth a few times about the concert and about my Keith having had a brain tumor and about our being big fans of David's. Plus we chat after the concert each year and in Hudson when he comes over to talk with Hudson Relay either about their concert fundraiser or just about Relay in general.

Anyway, we talked a bit about getting David back for another concert because they hadn't done it in White Bear last year. I told him I thought Hudson and White Bear should join forces perhaps. He said he thought that was a good idea and that with an underwriter there would be no trouble paying for his airfare. He said we could even do two nights maybe, one in each town.

This is all far more than you needed to know. I just wanted to get it all down before I forgot anything. And remember the moments spent with a dear man. Next time, I'll write about his daughter's story. I won't do it justice. Not like he did. I'm sure I won't leave you weeping. But you'll maybe thank me for that.


Today's miles: 3.75
Total so far: 24.5
Still to go for goal: 475.5

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