Meet Stephen Olson.
He’s 58. He’s a dad. A grandpa. A husband. A champion for his children and grandchildren’s happiness, and supporter of all things that are love. He makes legendary pancakes and is a fan of a nice cold Leinie’s (original).
He also has stage 4 lung adenocarcinoma with metastases to the brain, and now wears an eye patch to assist with eye strain... his vision is being compromised by the brainstem tumor. Fortunately, his 10-year-old granddaughter is handy with a pen and has a great sense of humor.
The point here... He (our dad) will not be alive for much longer. For people who like time frames: His diagnosis leans toward the 6 months to live fully window.
His janitorial job (Charter NEX Films of Superior, WI) brings in a paycheck of just under $1,000 twice per month. He works hard. He always has. Except now, he can’t work quite as hard. He used up nearly all of his PTO when he traveled to Minneapolis for diagnostic procedures, and he’ll use up the last of it to go back to Minneapolis for a consultation with a radiation oncology team, and hopefully receive a Gamma Knife radiation treatment the following day.
With this diagnosis, we (his children) fully understand the importance of every moment.
Our goal: Go West. One more road trip with Dad. This Summer. Ideally, the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness - specifically Bear Tooth Pass. We want him to see it one more time. We want him to breathe and feel and see the mountains one more time. Just one more time. Time is everything here, as the prognosis for his condition is poor at best... Beartooth Pass is our main destination, and it closes in early-mid October. This will likely be the very last opportunity to bring him there.
Dad will have to sacrifice a cut in pay in order to make this happen, and will not agree to traveling if he knows his family will be risking their financial stability to do so.
One of the harder things right now is his having to wait to be told he can go back to work. All he wants to do is go back to work - he’s tired of sitting around waiting to die.
After his diagnosis, he was trying not to be angry at having to wait for the okay to get back to work, and he said, “It’s not a glamorous job, and it’ll never make me rich. But it’s honest work that needs to be done.”
If you love the mountains. If you love hiking, fishing, or camping. If you love road trips with your family. Singing epic 80’s hair band classics at the top of your lungs with the windows down... Funky back road tourist attractions. Making dreams happen. Heck, if you ever use a public restroom and appreciate when it is clean... If you love any of that...
Please help us make this final trip a reality.
If you’d like to contribute another way, please contact Autumn Gallagher or Eric Olson for the mailing address. Funds donated will be used to defray costs to travel out West, as well as end of life arrangements. Anything beyond our goal will be donated to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry organization.
Thank you - in advance, we thank you for your love and respect for humanity.