Hello Western Mustang Football Alumni from Coach Greg Marshall, John Davis and Rob Gray. Blood Cancers have deeply touched all three of our families. To give back and show our support to the blood cancer community (across Canada) John and Rob have taken on leadership positions with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada's Light the Night Executive Leadership Commitee in Calgary. John is serving as Chair and Rob is the Co-Honoured Hero for this year's event and also sits on the committee. We hope you will join Greg and us in our efforts to raise funds to support LLSC's groundbreaking research, impactful patient and family support programs and advocacy. Please read below to learn more about why this cause is so incredibly important.
In the spring of 2002, my mom was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Soon after she began treatments at Juravinski Regional Cancer Center in Hamilton. Our family home was in Guelph and Hamilton was the closest cancer center. I was coaching at McMaster at the time so it was convenient for me to meet my mom and dad when they came for treatments. By the fall the cancer had gone into remission and my mom had four good years before the cancer returned in the summer of 2006.
At first we all thought that she would just need more treatment to settle it down. Her doctor explained that lymphoma often returns more severe and more difficult to treat. Unfortunately this was the case with my mom and she passed away in early December of 2006. My mom was the most loving and caring person. She was “gammy” to 13 grandchildren who absolutely adored her. The outstanding care and treatment she received gave us four more great years with our mom and grandma. Long enough to make an incredible lasting impact on her grandchildren. Long enough that my oldest son Donnie, who at the time was 17, wanted to stay by her bedside, right to her end. Long enough to pass on the same love and caring attitude to her granddaughters. I often regret that I was so busy coaching and raising our family that I wished I had more time with my mom. I still miss her everyday but am extremely thankful for the time we had. How do you spell love? T I M E.
Cancer and blood cancer have impacted all of us. I’m donating to this campaign so that the treatment for blood cancers will continue to improve so that one day we will have a cure. Until then with improved treatments and medication we can extend the lives of the people we love and ultimately the special time we have together.
Team Davis was formed on August 18, 2018 the night we told our children that their mother had Mantle Cell Lymphoma. Now, three years later, we are participating in our second Light The Night and I have the honour to be the Corporate Walk, Chair. Light The Night brings communities across Canada together for one magical evening to share stories, remember loved ones lost and pay tribute to our heroes, bringing light, love and hope to dispel the darkness of blood cancers.
So, on October 23rd we will be celebrating Kathleen - my beautiful wife and mother to Cole, Sydney, Matthew and Jayden. We will celebrate and recognize her strength and courage, and share hope with those struggling that with recent advances and continued research that a future is possible.
The Year that Shaped Me (excerpt)
By Rob Gray
1989 – November
OH YEAH!!! We, The University of Western Ontario Mustangs, just won the Vanier Cup! I love playing this sport! I should feel happier than I do, especially right now, but the scabs all over my body are a constant reminder that I’m not well. I just wish someone could tell me what it is. I’m so itchy, I’m now snapping pens in half during classes to scratch through my skin throughout the day. Maybe a break from football will help, and I can gain some of the weight back I’ve lost; seems like I lost more than normal this year. Well, I better enjoy the moment…who knows what tomorrow’s going to bring.
1990 – November
We lost in the national semi-finals yesterday, and that will be the last game of university football I ever play. I feel awful about the game, as does the rest of the team…
Radiation wasn’t nearly as tough for me as the chemo (and without the potential ‘side effect’) when I came back to London for football training camp. That was definitely my goal, play football and go to school again this year. I think ‘Dr. Jonesy’ agreed to it thinking that it was good to encourage the positive attitude. I’m pretty sure he told my Mom and Dad that I would likely be back home before training camp finished and classes even started…
The days seem better and hopefully there will be brighter years ahead. I don’t know if other people going through this think the same way…I need help from other people, but I don’t want them to need me, and at the same time, I’m just not sure I’m going to be around. Seems like a reasonable (and terrifying) thought process.
I decided tonight that if five years from now, I’m still alive and in remission, I’m going to ask Joanne to marry me…
For Rob’s full story, go to LLSC’s website “Community Stories” and select Region ”Prairies” and learn how he experienced, suffered, fought and overcame to become this year’s Honoured Hero for the Prairies and a member of the Executive Leadership Committee for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada and the Light the Night campaign in 2021.
Click each badge to see what you've earned.