Friday, June 12, 2009

Another Loss

A couple of years ago, Golf Digest ran a contest that allowed one lucky winner to play at the US Open with a celebrity foursome that included Justin Timberlake and Matt Lauer. That winner was John Atkinson, and he was a lung cancer survivor. You can't imagine how jealous Dan was, and kicked himself at the missed opportunity. When he found out that this year's "essay" had a 10 word limit, Dan was even going to enter with one tagline "John Atkinson has Nothing on Me".

John and Dan became friends, often golf stories or information on side effects when one of them started a new treatment. And mostly just to check in and keep up the positive attitude. I distinctly remember John calling last year on Christmas Eve day. Dan wasn't taking any calls, which if you know how much Dan loved Christmas... that should tell you something. But Dan eagerly took John's call and it gave him a huge boost. Enough that he could enjoy decorating the tree and wrapping presents. Dan also spoke to John just after we'd learn that he was near then end. Dan was nothing but encouraging, but unable to tell his friend the real story. Dan didn't want to let him down.

John passed away yesterday. Most of the fellow lung cancer survivors that helped Dan have passed. It doesn't get any easier. Best wishes to John's wife Lori & their children. And thanks to John for sharing his survivorship story in the national media, giving lung cancer a new face & attitude.

Here is the coverage this morning on the Today show:


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

sad to hear this - I remember learning about him from the blog earlier and had often wondered how he was doing - this news does suck...

hughesd2000 said...

I remember seeing John's story on the Today Show and his trip to the Nebraska Football game. It puts it into perspective when he said that the number of people in that football stadium will die of lung cancer. That sucks.