Tommy was one of the good guys. Always happy and a lover of life. No matter who you were, a stranger, friend, family member or competitor he made you feel great about who you were and about the moment you were in. We all loved Tommy dearly and miss him everyday.
Tommy grew up battling asthma his entire life but it never kept him down. Always the athlete he worked hard from a young age to compete in whatever sport he chose. Tommy's commitment and no quit attitude gained him a full ride tennis scholarship to Domincan University where he personally excelled in both sport and academics. After his college career he continued playing the sports he loved including tennis, basketball, running, swimming and cycling. He continued to struggle with his asthma but never let it hold him back.
In 2015 Tommy was diagnosed with stage 4 non small cell lung cancer. I remember the day he knew something was wrong becuase we had just finished doing an 8 miler on the treadmill side by side. He went to his doctor that week and they revealed to him the disease that had progressed unknowingly inside his strong and virile body.
Because Tommy had grown up learning how to compete within himself, on the field, on the court and in life he took the news with the same optomistic spirit he always had when taking on a challenge. Tommy underwent chemo therapy and responded well. We were all encouraged and believed he would beat back the disease based on his results.
Almost 2 years after his initial diagnosis Tommy was blindsided and his health declined quickly. We are all grateful he didn't suffer long and that his wife, family and best friends were all by his side his last few days.
I had planned to make my 100 mile attempt on the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge in Charleston, South Carolina in January 2017 as an act of solidarity with Tommy and the fight he was in. Unfortunatley, Tommy passed before the date. I have held this challenge in my heart and have re-commited to make this run in his honor. The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is one of the longest suspension bridges in the western hemisphere spanning 2.5 miles one way. To my knowledge no one has ever ran 100 continuous miles on this bridge and I wanted to be the first and do it all in the name of our dear Tommy.
To see someone who is so close to you be afflicted by a disease that "only happens to other people" was life changing for our entire family and his dear friends.
I hope you know your small contribution to the American Lung Association can impact generations to come. It might help someone who battles asthma as a small child breathe a little easier and it might help find a cure for lung cancer.
Tommy was a healthy, loving and kind contributor to society. The world is not as good without him but if a few of us can pull together we can fill the gap that he has left.
Thank you for all of your support.
I love you Tommy!
- Amy DePreta
- Katherine Abbott
- Karen Stokes-Rhodes
- Jenny Renken
- John Wilson
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