The “Daddy’s Girls” team is a regular top earner at Yadkin County Relay For Life.
The team members say they understand the importance of the American Cancer Society’s work because they have lost several family member to the disease but as their name suggests the biggest loss has been their father, Roy Holman.
“Our main reason is because of our dad, Roy Holman, who lost his battle with cancer September 5, 2008,” said team member Robin Cox. “Our team is made up mostly of family members. We have lost several other family members to the dreaded ‘C’ word, but we never really got involved in Relay For Life until our dad was diagnosed.”
Cox said that her father had lived a pretty healthy life. He did start smoking at a young age and continued to be a regular smoker up until his death but he never suffered any major health problems.
In January 2008 Roy started experiencing stomach issues and in preparation for a surgery he was given a routines series of blood tests.
“Little did we know, everything was about to change,” Cox said. “The chest x-ray revealed a mass in his lungs. Of course, his surgery was canceled and he went in for a biopsy the middle of January. That was when we learned he had stage four lung cancer.”
Cox said that her father visited an oncologist to review his options. Radiation wasn’t offered because there were too many tumors. Chemotherapy was a possibility but it would only extend his life by a few months.
“The doctor looked over the biopsy results and the x-rays, and told us he had 6-9 months to live without treatments,” Cox said.
Roy opted to give chemotherapy a try for one treatment and then make a decision. He opted to refuse treatment after that in order to enjoy a more quality life as opposed to a few more months alive.
“It’s hard to say what you would do in this situation until you are faced with it,” Cox said. “If I were faced with the same situation, with treatment only giving me a few extra months, I don’t think I would go through the sickness and all that goes along with chemo either.”
Roy made it to the spring and seemed to be doing well. He had a weekly visit from hospice and the family became very close with their hospice nurse, Cathy.
“For those who have never had any experience with hospice, let me tell you, they are amazing,” Cox said. “We had a wonderful nurse. They really care about their patients. They get to know each one on a personal level and they become life-long friends.”
Summer of 2008 brought more weakness for Roy. He had to be put on oxygen and he was losing his appetite. He was provided with a hospital bed so he could stay at home and his wife and daughters were taking turns staying by his bedside around the clock.
“You never really know what to expect when their time comes to an end, but with lung cancer, I expected we would have time,” Cox said. “Time to call everyone in, time for everyone to say their good-byes, time to sit by his bedside.”
Time seemed to grow shorter by the day for Roy’s family and come September he was struggling to breathe. Cox said that he was able to sing her happy birthday despite his difficulty breathing. This was a moment she would cherish.
Cox said that she decided to stay the night with her father to be present for a family meeting with hospice the next morning. She said her father had been quite restless and at 11:30 p.m. her father sat up in the bed and tried to get up.
She and her mother quickly and carefully got him back in the bed and just 20 short minutes later they heard him take his last breath.
“My mom and I looked at each other and jumped up,” Cox said. “Daddy had taken his last breath. This wasn’t how I had expected things to go. We didn’t have time to call anyone. As I phoned my sisters and my daughters to come, they knew it was too late. He was gone. In just a matter of seconds, daddy was gone.”
To honor Roy’s memory his wife, daughters and granddaughters continue to fight to find a cure for cancer. They work tirelessly hosting fundraisers to send as much money as they can to ACS each year.
“We are doing our part to make sure cancer never steals another year of anyone’s life,” Cox said. “We want to see a world with more birthdays and a world where the dreaded ‘C’ word is no longer something to fear. Saving lives from cancer starts with one team, one participant, and one dollar at a time.”
Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at email@example.com.