I'll be honest. As far as sisters go, I was pretty evil. My brother's childhood memories must be riddled with crotch kicks and face slaps. I left more than a few teeth marks on his skin, and of course all of these punishments were accompanied by insults.
Thank goodness we all grow up eventually. Today I cringe at the thought of having hurt someone I love so much.
As adults, my brother and I came to realize that under all that animosity, we have complementary personalities. We share the same sense of humor, the same social and political views, and even the same tendency to procrastinate (I meant to write this like a week ago).
We got an apartment together while I was going to college, and there I watched him fall in love with a girl. But not just any girl. THE girl.
She laughed at his snarky jokes, took his Family Guy references and sports mania in stride, and managed to clean him up and make him eat a vegetable every week or so.
He asked her to marry him on a beach a few years later, and she accepted his ring with tears and smiles. They set a date, and I watched these two extraordinary people prepare to join their lives together. They were planning not only their wedding, but their whole lives, complete with picket fences and pretty babies.
And then something happened that no one expected. Cancer knocked on the door. (We told it no one was home, but it barged in and sat its ugly butt on the sofa. Said, "Get me a sammich". Farted and blamed it on the dog. Not cool, Cancer. Not cool.)
From the first time the doctor said the words "Stage IV Colon Cancer", life-planning became year-planning, month-planning, and day-planning.
My brother is 28 years old. He got married in September, to the girl who stayed by his side for better or for worse even before she took those vows. I don't know if they will get their picket fences and babies.
There isn't a lot I can do for my brother. He doesn't like people to worry about him. He doesn't like to waste conversation on Cancer, unless he's making a joke about it. He keeps people updated on CaringBridge, and laughs off anything you say to him in person. I will never be smart enough to invent a drug or therapy to cure him.
I did think of one thing I might be able to do for him.
His dream is to go to Europe. He's never been overseas, and our family doesn't have the kind of money to help him. During his down-time after the chemo, he plans multi-country European vacations that he will never be able to afford.
We've had a lot of ups and downs through this whole Cancer thing. My brother's been through multiple rounds of chemo, radiation, he's even flown to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for surgery. He's had a Proctocolectomy, developed allergies to the chemo, and undergone more probing than a redneck alien abductee. But the latest news is a serious downer - it's spread to his lungs.
I want my brother and my sister-in-law to have their dream vacation in Europe. Initial research tells me this will probably cost about $10,000. I'm hoping there are some people out there who can help me give a dream vacation to a wonderful couple who deserve a lifetime of happiness, no matter how long their time together actually is.
- Kathy and David Pierfy
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