It is with a heavy heart that I have to report that one of our fellow Deviants, artists, and my friend, passed away over the weekend after a lengthy and epic battle against cancer. I feel comfortable and yet a little strange writing what amounts to a memorial for him. A few people seemed to feel that I knew him best and asked that I write something. The fact of the matter is that I met chad here on DA a little over three years ago. I reached out to him when I heard about his struggles with cancer. His story reminded me a lot of what my dear friend, Michael Turner, had gone through. It was in Michael's memory that I reached out to Chad to see if I could lend any support. I thought that perhaps sharing some of Michael's story might help him in some way. Chad and I developed an immediate and deep friendship via e-mail as a result. Over these last few years Ive had the play-by-play of what he was going through. He shared with me many deep, private thoughts. What always stood out to me about Chad, what anyone who knew him will tell you, is that he was brave, he was dignified, he was thoughtful, and he was STRONG. Not since Michael had I witnessed someone fight so hard for so long with such......grace. To say I was humbled and just downright in awe would be putting things mildly. Not once.....I mean LITERALLY.....not once....did I ever head Chad complain. He never once pitied himself. He never once complained. All he ever said was that the latest setback was just another obstacle to overcome in his eventual triumph over this horrible affliction. He never wavered.....at least not to me.
In the midst of the seemingly endless onslaught of this cancer, as it took his body piece-by-piece, he never let it define him. He went to great efforts to have as normal a life as possible. His greatest pleasure was spending time with his nephew and his greatest hope was to see him grow up. Chad was always more concerned with my life when we spoke. "How are those deadlines?". "How is your family?". "How is your mother doing?". When my mom passed last year, Chad was right there, making sure I was OK. He was a huge comfort and he inadvertently helped me to keep things in perspective. When I had my own health scare a couple of years ago, it was Chad who kept me calm. He was a voice of reason.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that Chad was, as they say, one-in-a-million.....although I think the ratio may be much higher. He was one of those people that this world is in desperate need of. In his short life he managed to touch and inspire others. He wanted his story to bring hope. Even though his story ended the way it has, there is still so much to be learned from him, from people like him. Chad didn't win his fight but maybe his story will inspire someone else struggling against massive odds to step up and fight harder.....and maybe to win.
In Chad's memory, I'd like to ask you to reach out to a stranger in need sometime if given the opportunity. You might get more than you bargained for. You might be the one who ends up benefiting from the effort. Little things can mean so much. Little things can make a BIG difference.
I love you, buddy. Rest easy.