Last summer I received a phone call from Vada Murray after a little phone tag. We had no problem connecting. Both of us were diagnosed with cancers that were not very fitting. Vada, a non-smoker, was diagnosed with lung cancer and I received a diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma at 28, forty years younger than the majority of MM patients.
Playing football at Michigan and a freak diagnosis were not all we had in common. We both happened to have three kids, the oldest being a boy, followed by two daughters. I could not help but feel connected with him.
During the one and only conversation we had he stated that this was a battle he was not going to win. I really had a hard time hearing that. It’s a reality with those taking on cancer…He knew his fate.
Last week Vada Murray passed away. Today as I attempted to give tribute to him and his family at UM’s Relay for Life I broke out in tears for a man I hardly even know, but feel so close to. It hurts to think about his family right now.
My speech was focused on the Fight Back theme of Relay for Life. It was very fitting. Thinking of Vada makes me want to Fight Back. I have always just wanted to dominate, but now I also want to fight back for him and his family. I don’t have a lot of words right now for what that means, just tons of emotion probably centered on feelings of injustice for what his family is having to go through.
For all those who can make it, there will be a memorial service this Thursday at 11:00am at Cliff Keen Arena.