Rick & Maria

"life is good"

In May of 2010 my husband, Rick, went into urgent care thinking he had a sinus infection due to the severe headaches he was experiencing. In a whirlwind experience, within 24 hours he had brain surgery and we learned the diagnosis that he had an Anaplastic Astrocytoma - grade three brain tumor. Although given a very grim diagnosis, Rick bravely battled this aggressive cancer for over four years. Sadly, he passed away in October of 2013 at the age of 38.

Throughout his battle with cancer Rick carried such a positive attitude. As he stated in our Caring Bridge site shortly after surgery, “I know it will not be easy every day, but it is hard to think of many negative thoughts at this time. I am just so excited to be alive and able to spend time with my family and friends… life is a great ride…Maybe cancer isn't all bad, just a different path through life.”

Rick showcased his positive attitude by wearing t-shirts during his treatments – such as a Superman, Rocky, Orange Crush – and always donning his “Life is Good” hat. In fact, friends and family started sending him shirts! His positive attitude and enjoyment of life’s little pleasures made the challenging time a cherished time together.

Rick taught and continues to teach me so much about life and gratitude. I am so thankful that I had the wonderful 15 years with him in my life. We have two wonderful sons (6 and 10), whom I can see Rick’s traits continue to shine. We have an amazing network of friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. I couldn’t believe the support and creative ways people helped us and continue to help me and the boys. And, most importantly, Rick taught me to cherish and truly live each day.

That being said, I hope that we can work toward a life without brain cancer and brain tumors. I know huge advances have been made even since Rick has passed away, but let’s continue to wage this battle and eventually win. Let’s not lose more wonderful people like Rick in this heart-breaking way.

For more information about Anaplastic Astrocytomas, visit the American Brain Tumor Association at: https://www.abta.org/tumor_types/astrocytoma/