The question was asked, "Who was Tom Wieser to me?" Here is my answer...
please take a few moments to reflect on this and share your answer. Please post it here so we all can read it together.
When I think back about meeting Tom Wieser for the first time, I quickly remember that I did not meet Tom Wieser first. I met his daughter, Emily. Emily was a volunteer working in the Spa at Camp Challenge. Emily was massaging my feet when I began to ask her about her motives for giving up a perfectly good weekend to help a bunch of sick people. Emily was shy and did not really say much about who she was. Emily had a very powerful spirit and it was apparent that she was connected to this battle in a very intimate way. Later I would learn the reason for the magic sparkle in her smile... and the wisdom in each step she took. Indeed she was deeply committed to the cause.
I spent the weekend asking people about Tom, listening to the description of this man I wanted to meet. It was not until Saturday night that I was able to understand the significance of this person, and the role he would ultimately play in my survival. I watched Tom speak that night at Camp Challenge during the Scroll Ceremony and I was instantly transformed. I did not know it at the time, but I would never be the same again. I was forever"¦ changed.
Tom carried a heavy burden, although one could never have guessed it. With an infectious smile and contagious optimism, Tom had a way of touching the soul of every person he met. He carried with him the confidence of a man who knew what his purpose was, and was intent upon reaching his destination. Tom wanted to change the way the world experienced cancer by bringing JOY into the lives of the cancer patients (and their families).
I realized the moment I met Tom Wieser that he was intimately connected to a greater universe... And that Tom represented this new population that I was now a part of. Tom gave a voice, and a name, and a face, to anyone who had ever been abandoned by optimism. He became a conqueror and a champion to everyone who had been labeled "non "“curative", or "terminal". Tom looked at odds and saw opportunity.
Tom represented the ultimate underdog. He was David to our Goliath.
Tom looked cancer in the eye and laughed, saying "You can't win. You can't beat me. I won't allow you to have my spirit. And I won't let you have my body without the fight of your life".
Tom's determination to beat cancer gave the rest of us the courage to stand up and fight. We, the cancer patients, who had felt defeated and hopeless were able to experience a quickening of the heart.. And we were healed of despair. In that, we were given the opportunity to ask the questions that began with the words, "What if"¦?" We were able to ponder the future once again.
As this man continued to live, and victoriously battle cancer even after being given a death sentence, we began to believe. Tom simply refused to die. For 9 years after hearing the word, terminal, Tom thrived in the face of hopelessness. Tom said, "If I can do it, so can you". So we did.
And we still do believe. We will continue to fight and move mountains to find a cure so that Tom's courage, faith and passions for life are memorialized.
Tom Wieser became, and always will be to me, "The Face of Hope".
This is the moment when we realize that all we have is the memory of the experiences that changed who we were... the moments that Tom touched us so intimately, and personally that he left an indelible mark on our soul.
For those of us who have been changed forever by Tom Wieser... we demand the world to pause in recognition of who you are to each of us. And we take this time to honor you, just as you honored each of us during your life.
We celebrate you and continue to work to bring your family out of the financial devastation this disease brought upon them. We may not have been able to find a cure in time to keep you here... but we can continue to work to spare your beautiful family from the consequences from a life ravaged by cancer.
We continue to donate and contribute whatever we can to honor your memory. We will not rest until your family is fully provided for... and imagine that you are smiling in heaven knowing that your loved ones are being held up in reverence the way you held up so many of us during your time here on Earth.
Each of us can give $1, $5, or $10... not a mighty amount by the judgment of a King. But together we move mountains by the mighty name of our Lord God.. and we lift up the family of this disciple of God who we came to know by the name of Tom Wieser. Together, are stronger than cancer.
Join me in the continued effort to rid this family of debt. They have suffered for a decade as they fought to find a cure for this disease. It is time to end the suffering once and for all.
Please join me in donating. Each of us can afford to give $1, $5 or $10. No amount is too small. Collectively... we change the world for this family.
All we have left is each other... and the Hope that Tom's inspiration will result in a cure for cancer that will someday save you or I... bringing this circle of life to it's completion.
We are family. We are... Team Wieser.
In Faith, Hope, Love and Determination...
Fellow Cancer Survivor
Fellow Velveteen Rabbit
World's biggest fan of Tom Wieser
The email I never wanted to send and the email you never wanted to receive. Tom passed away at 2:30 this afternoon in our family room surrounded by myself, Emily, Tommy, Allie, Timmy and our dog Summer. Tom's parents were also here. Tom was not in pain. He was talking and smiling up until a few minutes before he went home to Jesus.
I will send out another email by mid week with arrangement times. We plan on a rosary one night and a mass and reception the following day. My only request right now is for prayers for my children.
At the mass, NO ONE WILL BE ALLOWED IN THAT IS IN BLACK OR DRESSED FANCY. You can only come to Tom's celebration of life if you wear a jersey or something special that reminds you of my Tom. NO BLACK ALLOWED!
As we sit in silence longing to be with Tom, Heidi and the family.. perhaps each of us can take a moment to post a loving thought to the family via this website. While we may not hear from them daily, they do read every post.
If you have not donated, please consider contributing a small donation to help cover the catastrophic expenses incurred during the last nearly decade of Tom's battle with Cancer. As I have said before, no amount is too small. If 100 of us give $10 each... well you can do the math. It all helps.
Bless you for all of your love, support and encouragement of this family. Without you, this would have been an incredibly lonely journey for Tom and Heidi. Every word written is carefully read and pondered upon by the Wieser family.
God bless you and your loved ones as we continue to rid the world of this dreadful disease. Thank you again for all of your love.
Tom's Prayer Tree update from Heidi Wieser on May 9th:
Dear Friends and Family,
Tom has been on hospice now for ten days. They have been helpful but the best thing happened last night. Tommy got home from taking all of his finals in Tucson. All six of us are now under one roof and Tom knows it. God is good. I no longer have to stay awake even longer at night to think about all the what ifs? All is right with the world when the six of us are together. As I sit and type right now, the boys are upstairs playing together and the girls are chuckling together downstairs in the family room while Tom continues to rest on the recliner. I cannot ask for more. Emily never went back to Tucson. She decided not to walk for her graduation from the University of Arizona. A very selfless act for a girl of only 22 years old. Emily has been an amazing help with Tom. All five feet two inches of her has helped me walk him, put him in the car, and in his wheelchair. She is a dynamo. I am sad she is missing her graduation today and tomorrow, but am so proud when I look in er beautiful brown eyes and know she made the best choice for her.
Hospice has delivered us a hospital bed with a waffle mattress to prevent bed sores. Tom is not a big fan of this bed. The last four nights Tom has chosen to sleep in the recliner in the family room. We are actually happy about this because there is more activity through this room. The phone rings, the children come running through, and it is attached to the kitchen where he can hear us eating our meals. We open the blinds and let the sun shine in.
Tom has not eaten any real food for over two weeks. He does enjoy his cold ice water. We got sippy cups with straws and Tom can use these cups himself. We try to foster as much independence for him as we can. He remains on five liters of oxygen at all times and still gets short of breath. His coughing fits have decreased dramatically. Tom's liver is shutting down. He remains very yellow. Tom is VERY swollen and his poor feet and legs are so tender and tight. He will get a catheter for his urine tomorrow as it is just too hard and painful for him to walk, even though we use his wheelchair to get him from his chair to the bathroom. He is not in too much pain. He is still so stinkin' cute. He rambles most of the day. This will come as no surprise"”much of his rambling involves sports.
Tom is orientated about 25% of the day. The children and I will sit and listen to him and hold his hand. We love him so dearly. We give his 'bed baths'. Emily found some no rinse shampoo today and Tom said it was "refreshing". So cute :) We are not doing anymore lab work. Tom is not taking his blood thinner any longer because it has become too hard to monitor his INR and his liver is not helping the matter.
Thank you for all your continued support and endless prayers. This journey has been a long one, one we never would have changed. As we prepare for this new part of our journey, we know God will be holding us all tightly in the palm of His hand.
Please take this opportunity to send Tom and Heidi Wieser a virtual greeting card on this site with a small donation. If ever there was a time this family needed our financial support, it is now.
They also need to hear our words of love and support so they know that we will never, never, never give up on Tom Wieser.
On Wednesday, April 24th, Timmy was playing a freshman baseball game at Oakmont High School. Tom and I did not know that Timmy was expected to start pitching this game. Tom gathered as much strength as he could and although we only had a limited amount of oxygen on his portable tank; off we went to watch the baseball game. Tom's brother Matt was able to borrow the gator that clears the fields after games to transport Tom more smoothly to the field. Once there, we saw the entire game from the top of the second inning. God blessed us with the miracle of Tom at the field and for Timmy to have a fabulous game. He won the game with only two hits off of him. He did great at the plate with a triple. Tom and Timmy were in their glory. I have attached a photo of Tom at the game at the bottom of this prayer tree.
Also, on this Wednesday morning, I awoke with a gut wrenching feeling in my body that I needed to get Emily and Tommy home to see Tom. I spoke with each of them about their school and finals schedule. Emily and Tommy flew into Sacramento late Friday night. This, too, was a blessing from God. I was able to put them on a great flight and upgrade them because of all the generosity given to us through the CureTomWieser website. The PET scan we had on April 23rd showed problems around Tom's heart, fluid in his liver, hemorrhaging into his left lung, and a pleural effusion in his right lung.
We met with the cardiologist on April 25th; the only option he could provide us with for Tom's heart was open heart surgery to remove Tom's entire pericardium. This is not an option for Tom. I prayed so hard to keep Tom awake and strong until the Emily and Tommy arrived late Friday night. Saturday, we were able to wake Tom up enough to walk to the family room and talk with each of the children. This was a powerful and much needed time for all of us. We cried enough tears that afternoon to fill an entire swimming pool. But in typical Wieser style, our four amazing children were able to rally; go get takeout food and the five of us were able to eat and laugh together at the kitchen table that night with Tom sitting in the family room able to hear all of our voices. Home is where family is and our home is perfect! More miracles"¦"¦
Tom is barely eating and only takes small sips of cold ice water. He is VERY weak and needs to be watched at all times as he is not able to know his motor constraints of his body right now. Tom is on five liters of oxygen continuously, which really is not enough. He is still able to swallow his pills for now. Watching our four children suffer like this is more than any of us should ever have to witness and yet in the same breathe; I thank God that all four of them are here and old enough to make these powerful memories with Tom. Tom will be going home to God someday soon and our home at 224 Dove Meadow Court will never be the same. There will be a forever void of the man we call our husband, our Daddy, our best friend, our miracle man. I do not regret anything in our lives. I am honored to have shared the last 33 years of my life with Tom. Blessed and thankful for the four most outstanding children in the world. Hopeful that through our lives and our journey that many others can guide the path to free the world of this horrific disease.
We met with our oncologist today. It was decided amongst the three of us that we will transition to hospice care. Our oncologist said we can always come off of hospice if Tom starts to improve, but for now this is the best decision for Tom. We are working on giving Tom more fluids and increased calories as much as he can tolerate. The miracle that is Tom Wieser shall live forever because of all the amazing lives Tom continues to touch. This is a sacred and special time for the six of us. Tom knows how much he is loved by each of you. Out of respect and protection for Tom, I ask that you allow the six of us the time we need to go through this part of our journey. I know we have shared everything with each of you over the past nine plus years and we are forever grateful for all of your love, support, and prayers. Thank you for honoring and loving all of us so very much. We will meet with our oncologist again next Monday. I will update you as frequently as we have any changes.
In faith and hope,
Tom, Heidi, Emily, Tommy, Allie, and Timmy
our Celebrate the Life of Tom Wieser page, a fundraising site dedicated to the
mission of helping the family of Tom Wieser.
February 12, 2004, Tom Wieser was diagnosed with State 2/C Rectal Cancer. On that day, the husband and father of four
young children began his battle with this horrible disease. After a year of aggressive treatment
including chemo, radiation and surgery, the cancer metastasized and spread to
his lungs. Tom was given two years to
Wieser aggressively fought this cancer and willingly opted for any kind of
treatment possible that would extend his life long enough to see his children
grow. Tom defied all the odds and the
doctors were baffled by the simple fact that Tom continued to live.
more than nine years of battle, this insipid disease finally wore Tom's body
out. On Monday, May 13th, Tom
Wieser passed away surrounded by his wife, four children, mother, father and
hope for this effort is to continue to raise enough money to provide for the
payment of all medical bills that were accumulated in order to keep Tom Wieser
alive longer than anyone ever predicted.
We want to help ease the horrible financial burden that this disease has
had on the family.
ago, Tom and his wife Heidi created a foundation to nurture other families who
are battling this disease. The Me One
Foundation has sent thousands affected by cancer on a free vacation where they
are able to get away from the day to day realities of battling their disease. Tom and Heidi, along with their four children,
devoted their lives to helping other families rather than try to draw attention
to their own needs for financial assistance.
account was created through a collaborative effort by those who have been
touched by the unwavering faith and love demonstrated by the Wieser family over
the past nine years. We continue raise
funds in order to honor Tom's memory. We
want to provide for the family and try to ease their tremendous burden just a