Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I have to admit, I’ve been quiet on my blog lately because of a big crash.  The “high” was the recent AIM Walk in Charlotte which I still consider one of the best days of my life.  You have no idea how much love and respect I felt for people at the walk.  I hugged and shook the hands of warriors who were Stage 0 to Stage 4.  I felt overwhelming admiration for those who ran all 5K as well as to those who took the challenge in a wheelchair.  I felt humbled by these folks in ways I can’t begin to describe.  And that’s one reason that words have escaped me of late.

But the crash afterwards was hard.  After I came home, I felt like we had just won the Super Bowl.  The season was over…the victory was ours.  But then it occurred to me…in the 20 hours or so that I spent in Charlotte, 20 people in the US died of melanoma.  In the 11 days since the walk, 264 warriors have left us.  Melanoma never stops to celebrate.  It just keeps being the evil that it is.  And in the midst of the crash, I felt tired.

I have no right to feel that way since I don’t have melanoma.  I fight the awareness battle in memory of my brother, but that’s nowhere near the war that others fight every single moment.  Several folks couldn’t make the walk because melanoma was hitting them hard.  Some were in the hospital…some were sick at home…and some were way too financially depleted from the expense of the battle to make the trip to a far away city.  Melanoma attacks in so many ways and it doesn’t get tired.  Our most dedicated warriors get tired, but they fight on.  Despite the most daunting of obstacles, they fight on.  Jillian fights on.  I’m inspired by that.

Their fight reminds me of that of Inigo Montoya. 
He was the Spanish sword master in the movie “The Princess Bride.”  Inigo had a sense of vengeance to find the “man with six fingers” who had killed his father long ago.  For many years, he had rehearsed his greeting for the moment he would meet his father’s killer.

Hello.  My name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father.  Prepare to die.

Eventually, he finds his nemesis and confronts the six-fingered man with his line.  Unfortunately, Inigo is quickly stabbed with a dagger and about to suffer the same fate as his father.  When all seemed lost, Inigo mustered up enough energy to pull the knife out and repel a killing thrust of his enemy’s sword while muttering…

Hello.  My name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father.  Prepare to die.

Another thrust is rejected and Inigo repeats the words...twice.  The six-fingered man screams “Stop saying that!” do which Inigo responds…

HELLO!  My name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father.  Prepare to die.

Ultimately, the words prove prophetic and Inigo gets his revenge.  Despite having been injured and bleeding and left for dead, Inigo’s determination and strong will saw him through.

The efforts of those warriors that fight every second of their lives, and the determination of one movie character makes me want to stare melanoma right in the face and say…

Hello.  My name is Al Estep.  You killed my brother.  Prepare to die.

Post Script.  Please send your thoughts and prayer to Jillian as she fights the hardest part of her battle.  Her treatments have been deemed ineffective and her doctors (and family) can only hope for a miracle.  Jillian and her mom Susan have been advocates and inspiration for all those who are raising awareness.

1 comment:

  1. Hello. My name is Susan Hayes. You are pissing me off. Prepare to pay.