My True Strength Comes From My Father


Even during the height of my father's cancer, he provided for his family. He is my true symbol of strength and inspiration.

My father’s devastating cancer diagnoses was given to him several months after our family’s decision to relocation from (rural) Roanoke, Virginia to (urban) Richmond, Virginia.  The move had been in preparation for dad’s new job as an Executive Chef with Thompson Hospitality, but his illness would ultimately lead him to being unemployed.  After a prolonged leave of absence, he was eventually asked to resign from the position due to his physical inability to begin working for their company.  At first, my father did his best to remain positive; he would tell me and my little sister Nicole, At least I’ll be able to spend more time with you guys!” However, as the weeks went by, we always seemed to spend far more time with him at the hospital than back at home.

One month into cancer treatment, a deep sense of failure tormented my father into depression. He started to struggle with growing thoughts of doubt during the intensive chemotherapy sessions, while his loss of weight and energy lead my mother into working herself into episodes of extreme exhaustion.  Even at a young age, I could feel my family being torn apart by my father’s absence, my mother’s financial worries, and a general sense that no one knew if we’d be able to make it through the hardship.  At a time when his primary focus should have been on healing, my father insisted on keeping the family together by accepting contract work during the height of his cancer experience.  I remember him and my mother crying together after he received his first paycheck in nearly eight months.  It inspired me to see them continue to support one another through such great uncertainty.  Until that point, I had rarely seen my father display overly “sensitive” emotion, such as crying or open expression of self-consciousness.  He was forced to place his trust in the doctors and chemotherapy process in spite of his worsening mental and physical conditions.

My father has been cancer free for nearly 15 years now; he often expresses the importance of regular checkups and considers the cancer experience to be a humbling event in his life.  For me, it showed the importance of overcoming limitations and enduring life’s adversities when you have little or no control over the potential outcome.  My father could have easily been overly negative about his fate; he could have blamed anyone but himself for getting cancer, but instead, he did take personal responsibility for our family’s poverty.  I learned what it means to be a strong leader by observing my father’s selflessness and extreme recovery motivation for the sake of his wife and children. To this day, my dad is a personal symbol of inspiration, I often think back to that time whenever my own “will to push through” is needed.




  • Richmond, VA
  • Adult


  • Prostate Cancer

Primary Treatment

  • Chemotherapy

Primary Cancer Center

  • Other


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