Almost all of us on this life journey, at one time or another, have met a guy who they’d describe as a “salt of the earth”. If you have not known a guy like this…meet Mark Waddell – a great guy, good son, awesome brother, awesome teammate. A Michigan native, he grew up in a place where giving your word still means a lot, where a handshake means more than a signature, where you learn life lessons from the time you start walking. Loved by all, disliked by none, a hockey soul, that is our Mark.
The last week of March, life threw a major curveball at him – Mark was diagnosed with severe pancreatitis, which led to kidney failure and breathing intubated. Sent immediately to Emory’s ICU, Mark was fighting for his life, heavily sedated, unconscious, breathing on a ventilator, with dialysis, and in critical condition. Next to the loss of his brother, these are some of the toughest days in Mark and his family’s lives, along with his loved ones and friends. It was hard to believe that this was happening to such a great young guy, but it is a reality. All anyone could do was pray… and praying we did!
Mark is tough, hockey players usually are. Fighting through hell, armed with the strength of prayers, he is fighting on, but continues to be in a very critical condition. Slow but sure, every day is another win… one day at a time. Perhaps, motivated to fight for his life, to meet his unborn child – Mark’s partner Hana is expecting their first child in April.
Mark’s job now is to pull through… survive… walk out. We know that he has more life to live, which is why God has allowed him to still be with us. Mark is an example and lesson for us all and we will continue to learn from him.
As it frequently happens, the guy who cares for all, often forgets to care for himself – Mark does not have health insurance. He did not yet have a chance to save for a rainy day, so this will continue to be an uphill climb… Daily hospital costs continue to mount and he will be needing medical support continually for quite some time. So, now is our time to take the shirts off our backs and help the one, who so often has done this for us.