My Unseen Hero - Garrett Snyder

To many people, the word “cancer” brings horrible memories, scared feelings, a bit of confusion and a hope for a cure. Needless to say these are the exact feelings I go through when I hear the word. I've seen it on the news, through social media, and my life. That leads me to this. My cancer story. My cancer story involves a man I never met.

I’m 26 and started my life out with a unique type of guardian angel. He was an American hero, a business owner, a family man; he loved to bowl and loved to laugh. He was known around town and was a smiling face with a amazing sense of humor. Throughout my life I've seen the plagues of cancer ravish the world, little did I know growing up it runs through my family’s veins as well.

At age 16 my father lost his father to the Cancer. No 16-year-old should have to face what my father did, a business dropped in his lap to maintain, and the need to support his mother, brothers and sisters. He had to be the strong one even though he was the baby of the bunch. Though it did not work out in his favor and the business was lost, I believe it shaped my father – my hero – into the amazing man he is today.

As I stated before I started my life out with a guardian angel and I see and hear him more every time I see my dad. My grandfather was known for his laugh, if you have ever heard my dad laugh it’s the most passionate laugh around. Nothing makes me smile harder then when my dad cracks up, his sense of humor is uncanny and unmatched, his drive of work surpasses others, he believes in quality over quantity; everyone whose ever met my dad loves him. He may not be a American military hero but to others and myself he is a hero all the same. My grandfather loved to coach baseball, same as my dad, loved to fish, same as my dad, and loved his family more than life its self, same as my dad.

My grandfather, born in 1919, never knew me, but I know he's watching me through my father’s eyes. Cancer took a part of my Dad's life and took a part of mine that I will never have or get to experience.

Each and every one of us has heard this term. Each and every one of us fears this term. Cancer is a term that unites us all in one way or another. The cure will happen, I'm positive of that. I live with the daily reminder that my uncle died of the same cancer as my grandfather, neither of them I met. I fear of it stripping away my father. Any time I hear the word it burns through my veins.

As for today I am blessed. I have a beautiful, strong guardian angel that works his way into my life on a daily basis, through small reminders like looking into my father’s eyes. Our life has no set time frame, no set guidelines in which we have to live, so I make every day a chance to enjoy and rejoice. Love hard and live to the fullest. I know you’re watching me Pap. And even though we never met, I can't wait to shake your hand in heaven one day.

Garrett Snyder, Red Lion, Pennsylvania

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