Strength For John

My name is Matthew, and I am here today to tell you  about a man who's character and charisma helped to greatly influence the man I am today. A man who value's helping others even at great cost to himself. A man who loves his family with every ounce of himself. A man who knows well that family isnt a word to explain blood relation, but rather family is best described as people who choose to love us, and help us be the best versions of ourselves that we can be. But that is just the kind of man John is. 

We tend to take for granted the best things in our life, like they will always be there despite lifes many twists and turns. That was the first thought that passed through my mind when I was told the man I call father had been diagnosed with Stage 4 Small Bowel Adeno Carcinoma.  In that moment I realized that the people we cherish most in this life, we rarely fully appreciate until life comes in and threatens to take them away. 

I could go on about John forever truly, but allow me to explain a bit more about the man himself and why I am here. John's rare cancer diagnosis... painfully only comes with a 50 percent survival rate of two years. With the smallest dream of hope allowing a 5% remission rate of about 5 years. While the rest of us faced the dismal inevitability of what was to come down the road, and asking ourselves what can we do to help make dad's remaining days as comfortable and amazing as possible... as he well deserves, John stood... metaphorically speaking, and declared his will to undergo chemo and fight as long as he possibly can. 

I don't think any of us were surprised. John has always been a self sacrificing man, always willing to fight for the people he loves and everything he believes in at any and all costs. A military veteran, serving in the Vietnam war as a soldier in the army, and then afterwords the National Guard. He served honorably and long before finally retiring from military life to become a foster parent along with his wife, also my mother. Lynette. I have reshaped my definition of what it is to be family from this loving and noble couple. 60 children they have taken under their wing over the last 22 years, helped and guided then to a better, more positive future. I should know. I myself was one of their foster children. Although now  to me they are mother and father. and to my two year old son, Nana and Papa. 

As for why I am here, appealing to your kind and noble hearts. My father, John, is the strongest man I have ever known. He has always fought for me, and all of his children and grand children when we lacked the strength to fight for ourselves. Now that his strength is waning... it is time for those of us who love him to stand up and fight on his behalf. To help him stand, giving everything necessary in our power, to help give him the best fighting chance possible in this impossible time. Fight with me, fight for a man who fought for all of us for so long. Let us do what we can do to help alleviate the burden that is the cost of the treatment needed for my dad to fight on. 

Words alone cannot express my appreciation to those of you who have taken the time to read my plea. Whether it is in your power to donate or not, strength comes in all forms. Your prayers and warmhearted thought's are appreciated as well. May god bless you all.


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Matthew Hemmen 
Vassar, MI
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