Tracie Chovan

My son, Cory, and I climb and run because our friend Eddie couldn't. 

I met Eddie almost five years ago.  I am a volunteer with a well known organization that helps make wishes come true for children with life threatening illnesses.  I received a phone call from a nurse at The Toledo Children's Hospital one day in January 2005.  She told me there was a young boy in the hospital that was not doing well, he had cystic fibrosis.  He already received a wish from the organization I volunteer with, so he was not eligible to receive another wish.  This particular nurse knew however, that I had a way to contact Ben Roethlisberger with the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Eddie was a huge Ben fan and wanted nothing more that to meet him.  I went to the hospital to meet Eddie and fell in love instantaneously.  Unfortunately, I could not get Ben up to the hospital, but he did send some autographed cards and pictures.  Eddie treasured those items, just as I treasure my children's baby pictures. 

Eddie ended up going in to hospice about 9 weeks after I met him.  I spent as much time as I could with him.  We watched movies, ate popcorn, laughed, played games, took walks around the pond and talked about everything from football to girls he liked. 

One day Eddie and I were outside. I sat on the swing and he was on his motorized scooter.  He told me that he wanted to go to church with me on Sunday.  I told him I would take him every Sunday if he wanted.  Eddie grabbed my hand and said, "Tracie, you know I am never leaving here.  I came here to die."  I tried to change the subject.  Then he said to me, "I am glad you are my friend, please never forget me."  I have never forgotten that conversation or the feeling I had as my 15-year-old friend, tried to comfort me with his coming death. 

The next day, I went to visit him.  I told him I would be there the next morning to pick him up for church.  He told me he was not going to go to church, he didn't want me to come in the morning, instead come Sunday evening at 5:00.  I agreed. 

When I got there Sunday evening, his whole family was there.  He told everyone to be there at 5:00.  He spoke with each of us, and again thanked me for being his friend, he told me he was glad he met Cory.  Once again, he said, "Promise, you won't forget me."  I promised him again and kissed him gently on the forehead.

Eddie passed away within 30 minutes of that last promise. 

I climb, I run because Eddie couldn't.