Uncle Jay

My Uncle Jay is a man’s man. He enjoys working on cars, fishing and boating, and is always up for a local game dinner despite being blessed with three daughters and not a single son. In a house full of women, he is the family’s rock of sanity and reason. He is the kind of person who is always there to help others out. In 5th grade, for example, my class went on a field trip. Shy and quiet, I did not want to go without my parents, but they were recovering from a serious car accident. Among all of my family, it was my Uncle Jay who volunteered to chaperone my field trip to put me at ease.

Recently, my uncle began to complain of aches and pains. This took my entire family by surprise as my uncle is always the person nursing others back to good health. In March, after months of bouncing from doctor to doctor my uncle was diagnosed with cancer. My uncle was a lifelong smoker, but still it seemed surreal to grasp this diagnosis. Still, my uncle stayed true to character. He kept his smile on as his first chemo date approached, joking with us that he couldn’t wait to meet his new friends – the other cancer patients whom he would be sitting with for hours during treatments. Once he began losing his hair to chemo he lightheartedly likened himself to a shedding dog and began wearing a visor with fake grey hair attached.

Thankfully, my uncle is in the hands of a wonderful medical team and his prognosis seems good. Still, the pain, suffering, and anxiety that my uncle has to endure are completely preventable. Sure people know that smoking causes cancer, but somehow we all still think it won’t happen to us or the one’s we love. Well, my family and I can tell you that no one is immune. While quitting smoking is not easy, it is a whole lot easier than battling cancer.

-Nicole Knott