So many years ago, I became friends with a boy named Tiger. His given name, his birth name was David but we always just knew him as Tiger.
I had this crew of guy friends who were amazing. I just hung out with them. I didn’t date any of them, we just were all friends. Tiger was one of those friends. Most of us are still connected today, as a matter of fact.
I used to get in trouble for talking to Tiger on the downstairs telephone too late into the night. Those were the days that every call was a charge, so come the end of some months my parents were ready to kill me for the jump in the bill and me spending too much time on the phone.
Tiger was also one of the guys who would prop you up and just be your friend when somebody he didn’t think you should’ve been liking in the first place was rotten to you. I knew a lot of those guys. I always felt lucky to have them as friends.
Tiger had a big head of curly hair. And he was tall. He still has a lot of curly hair and he’s still tall. So are his brothers. I feel like a positively short person next to them !
We all have Tiger stories. OTB for Over The Bridge. The story of moving the coffin in a station wagon on the Schuylkill Expressway that was a prop for a school play. My husband was involved with that. Trust me, that is a story that will make tears run down your face with laughter.
Tiger was the first of my friends to enter the military. He chose the Marine Corps.
Truthfully he love the Marine Corps and it was good for him.
And the thing about being a Marine that I have learned from all my male friends who have been in the Marine Corps is once a Marine always a Marine. And this Marine needs our help.
Over the weekend Tiger’s brother Christian called me. We are also really good friends. Tiger has stage 4 renal cancer. I just sat there stunned and probably talked a mile a minute because I don’t want to cry. This is another one of those things in the year 2020 that we could all use a do over for. It’s bad enough there’s COVID-19, but now this?
Oh but wait it gets worse. At some point when he started his treatment I don’t know when, his company eliminated his position. Which I think is really crappy and I think there’s a special place in hell for people who try to justify doing things like this. But this is why Tiger needs our help.
If you have ever been treated for a debilitating disease like cancer, you know quite simply how expensive it is. Even working through my treatment with breast cancer it’s still took me a few years to pay off just the radiation bills. And that was with having paid co-pays.
Tiger and I share common interests and loves in cooking and gardening as adults. We also have a love of chili peppers. But Tiger as a home chef so far surpasses me. Seriously, he’s like Jacques Pépin only American. And his gardens are lovely. Tiger is not perfect, none of us are, but he is a good dude, plain and simple.
I am now going to let Tiger’s wife Sarah‘s word take over. She has started a go fund me, which was not easy I am sure because they are not the kind of people to have their hand out and ask for money. They are the people that usually help other people.
It all started with a little back pain:
Tiger started his new dream job on Monday, March 16, 2020. Like many of us, he was working remotely. About a month later he started to develop some annoying back pain. Many of us can relate to the back pain that “working from home” created–cramped spaces, uncomfortable chairs, etc. Tiger’s back pain persisted and grew increasingly worse.
On Tuesday, June 16 he had a spinal X-ray, and to our surprise, the radiologist saw a compression fracture in his thoracic spine. On June 18, he had an MRI of the spine and our lives changed forever.
As we were driving home from the MRI, our doctor called and told us to turn around and go immediately to a hospital specializing in spine injuries because the MRI showed a spinal tumor. He was concerned the spine could further destabilize and cause more serious damage. He was admitted there for 8 days and, while he did not remain at the spine hospital, he has not been home since.
While in the first hospital, more scans were done. The doctors speculated it was kidney cancer that had metastasized to the spine but would not know definitively until an interventional radiologist conducted a biopsy. There was a delay of at least a week to get the biopsy because Covid had backed up such procedures.
Knowing it was likely cancer, we started pushing for a transfer to world-renowned Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. And within a couple days, Tiger was admitted to MSKCC into the neurosurgery unit due to the spinal tumors, and then the real process of diagnosing and treatment began.
….In early July, the love of my life, my active, energetic and seemingly healthy 56-year old husband was diagnosed with Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma (kidney cancer) Stage 4. He had no symptoms other than intense back pain. We realized we were going to need a lot of emotional support to navigate this…thus, the advent of TEAM TIGER…..On August 1st, yet another unexpected adjustment…he was told that his company could no longer keep his job for him as he was ineligible for additional leave or FMLA. Now unemployed and ineligible for benefits, not knowing what the future holds, he gathered up his courage and continued to keep in the fight……
…Covid safety precautions prevent visitors at the facility, so he has not seen his family in weeks. Since insurance will limit his time in the rehab facility to possibly another week, we must act now to make preparations for his transition back to our home.
How YOU can help support TEAM TIGER:
As a former US Marine, he has incredible resiliency and strength. Each day he has fought valiantly. He has been the model of courage, fortitude and persistence in the face of adversity.
……If you cannot donate to TEAM TIGER, you are still part of the team by keeping him in your thoughts and prayers!
With the loss of his salary and some medical/healthcare-related expenses not covered or only partially covered by insurance, we are asking for ANY amount of monetary contribution to help defray these expenses. We will have significant out-of-pocket costs to adapt our home (exterior and interior) to accommodate for Tiger’s mobility needs.”📌
There is more to the story and you can go to the Go Fund Me to read all of it.
A final personal note is I am definitely over 2020 now. I know this person doesn’t live in Chester County, I am going outside the borders because this is a lifelong friend. I am trying to pay it forward and you can make an anonymous donation to this fund if that more suits your comfort level. I personally choose that route a lot of the time because you just wanna give a little something you don’t need anything in return.
I am proud to be part of #TeamTiger. please help uplift his family during this difficult time. If you can help in any way, that’s amazing, and if you can just set the heavens on fire with prayer that is also welcome.
Thank you for your time this morning.