Gilbert Marion McClanahan
November 18, 1914 - January 1, 1998
This year, I have the privilege to walk in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life event. My family has participated in this event for several years & I am excited to start my own annual tradition of staying up all night to honor & remember those who have battled cancer.
I lost the only Granddaddy I knew to prostate cancer in 1998... 2 months before my wedding. When Granddaddy was hospitalized for the last time & it didn't look promising that he would be released, I dropped out of college to spend time at the hospital with him. My mom also quit her job to be there as often as possible. Together, we planned the details of my wedding in his hospital room.
I remember the phone ringing in the middle of the night on January 1, 1998. When your phone rings in the middle of the night, it's not a good sign. Sure enough, mom was told that Granddaddy had passed away. It was one of the hardest moments of my life. Up until that point, I had never lost anyone close to me. But, I was very close to my Granddaddy. I lived in the same town as my Grandparents my entire life (except for one year spent away at college). I went on week long (and longer) camping trips with them. I traveled across the country with them in their RV to visit my sister in Iowa. Granddaddy used to pick me up from school in his old VW van that looked very much like this. I used to be so embarrassed when I'd see him pull up in front of my school. But, I secretly loved riding in the front seat, much higher up than all the other cars around town. And, I loved being with my Granddaddy. He was fun, he was kind, he was gentle & he was very well respected in our town. He was perfect!
I never did finish college, but I have never, ever regretted spending those last few months in the hospital with him. There are a lot of things in my life I'd like to do differently, but that is one thing I know I would not change. The time we had together was precious & invaluable.
To this day, I miss his smile, his laugh, his "Who dat?", his hugs & his back scratches... oh those back scratches. They can't be beat! He was the best at it!
So, on April 23rd, I will walk from 7:00 pm until 7:00 am (with a few rests in between) in memory of Gilbert Marion McClanahan. I will remember the good & honorable man, husband, father, grandfather & great-grandfather he was. I will walk for my Granddaddy!
(Granddaddy, Amberly & Grandmother - 1995)
I feel very strongly about the mission of The American Cancer Society. I want to be a part of a generation that finds a cure to this deadly & devastating disease. And I am asking you to help me do that by donating to my Relay for Life page. My hope & prayer is that the money I raise for cancer awareness will help to save as many lives as possible!
Thank you for your support. It is overwhelmingly appreciated!