On June 22, 2024, I will be participating in my 8th Ride for Roswell benefiting Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, NY. But this year is different... this is the first year I will be riding in memory of the BEST dad a girl could ever dream of having, my father, Bill.
Monday, August 28th, 2023 will forever be the second worse day of our lives. The day we received the heart shattering phone call from Roswell Park that my dad had high grade Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), a rare blood cancer where his bone marrow was no longer producing enough healthy blood cells. We were told that this type of cancer does not have a cure and that it has a survival rate of only 0.8 years!! The only potential "cure" for this disease was a bone marrow transplant from a matched bone marrow donor, such as a sibling or a child... like a daughter... Me!
The 4 short months that followed diagnosis consisted of 3 grueling rounds of chemotherapy, weekly visits to Roswell Park for labs and MANY blood transfusions to keep his blood counts up. Our family spent countless long days in Roswell's care, hoping that the chemo treatments would stop the cancer from progressing, all while trying to start the transplant process that would hopefully give him a chance at another 5-10 years of life. The doctors told us that his condition was going to get worse before it got better... it never got better.
Thursday, December 21st, 2023 at 1:07am will forever be the worst day of my life. Four days before Christmas, my dad took his last breath, while holding my hand, just 115 days after being diagnosed.
Our lives changed in an instant. How could this happen? We had so many plans for the future and in a blink of an eye, my dad was gone! I cried... then cried again... and cried some more. If I'm being honest, I hadn't stopped crying since Roswell called us back in August with his diagnosis.
Prior to all of this, 2023 was shaping up to be one of the best years for my parents...
In April, after 35 years of working for the same company, my dad finally retired at the age of 69 years old. In June, both of my parents were able to attend my first Ride for Roswell Peloton! They voluntarily stood in the rain to watch me cross the finish line, just like they had done for every marathon I've ever run in. In July, they celebrated their 45 year wedding anniversary and purchased their anniversary/retirement gift, a brand new camper! They were ready to start their retirement dream of traveling the country. A dream they had talked about for so many years and were thrilled to finally set out on.
That all came to a screeching halt with one phone call from Roswell Park. Just four months after retiring, with so many big plans ahead of them, my parents retirement dreams were now shattered and replaced with tears and fear of the future.
My heart was broken for my parents, with what was supposed to be their most exciting chapter of life. I recently found a folder on my dad's computer labeled "retirement adventures", inside was a document of plans for a travel blog he wanted to start once they hit the road. "It's all about adventure, not personal fame. Watch us as our retirement adventure begins"....
My dad was never given the chance to enjoy the retirement he worked so hard for. He had sacrificed so much to provided this amazing life for our family and deserved to finally enjoy the fruits of his labor! Cancer robbed him of that. It robbed our family of so many future memories, anniversaries, dreams and most importantly, time together. For 33 years, life had always been the 3 of us as a family. Now, my mom and I are faced with navigating this new world without our best friend... our everything.
Through all the bad times we experienced in 2023, we try to look for the good. I am SO proud of my dad for putting up one heck of a fight! I'm grateful to have had the extra 4 months of time with him that I did. I'm thankful we were able to say goodnight to him every night, listen to all of his stories and most importantly, tell him how much we loved him. My number 1 goal in life now is to continue to try to make him proud and carry on his legacy.
The day before he passed, I told him "you know you are going to be the star of my Ride for Roswell now, right?". To which he chuckled and said "yeahhhh, I kind of figured". I then promised him that, one day, I would raise enough money in the Ride for Roswell to receive a memorial brick in Kaminsky Park with his name on it... the same park that the window of his hospital room overlooked. In order to receive an engraved memorial brick in Kaminsky Park, a rider must fundraise a minimum of $10,000!
My entire life my parents have been my biggest cheerleaders, always there to support me at every race, marathon, biking event, promo or fundraiser. Now it's my turn to be there for my dad. Please consider helping me keep my promise to him, while paying it forward to future patients that will need the resources and outstanding care at Roswell Park, just like my dad did, by donating to my 2024 Ride for Roswell!
The funds raised from the Ride for Roswell go directly to the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that manages all donations to Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. These funds help support the cutting-edge cancer research and full range of patient-care programs that give hope to thousands of patients treated at Roswell Park each year.
On average, every $1 donated to Roswell Park leads to an additional $23 in new grant funding!!
Cancer doesn’t care about age. It doesn’t care about your family or friends. It doesn’t care about what it takes from us, or who it leaves behind. But I care, I care about making a difference in the future of cancer research and bringing an end to this devastating disease, that took so much from me and my family!
Please join me! Whether it be by joining my team or donating to support my goal. Any amount is appreciated and goes towards the goal of ending cancer. All the money raised stays here in WNY to help our friends, neighbors and family members who need cancer care at Roswell Park.
Together, we can make a difference, help to find a cure and save lives.
Thank you for reading our story.
I love you, dad!
- Kristen Fedick
In loving memory of
William T. Fedick Jr.
10/19/1953 - 12/21/2023