My Great-Grandpa Melvin This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

September 12, 2013
By , Fort Dodge, IA
My great-grandpa’s name is Melvin. He has 5 kids, and one of his daughters, Jackie, is my grandma. He is originally from Fort Dodge, but now lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. He is 84 years old with a height of 5’9” with thin white hair and glasses. Every summer, he comes to Fort Dodge for about a month to stay with my grandma at her house. He is always wearing a turquoise stone ring and either khaki pants or shorts with his khaki colored velcro shoes. He only has a few shirts that he wears, but some of the main ones are a brown shirt with surfboards on the front, a black button up with palm trees, and a yellow polo with stripes. You can usually find him on my grandma’s recliner chair in her living room watching either basketball or the news on TV. My great grandpa is one of the funniest and most positive people I know. My grandpa’s sense of humor and positivity have helped him in his battle with cancer.

In 1999, when my grandpa was 70 years old, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He was only given 6 months to live. He said he didn’t want to do chemo, because he wanted to enjoy his time left. So, at the cancer center he went to, they found a clinical trial for him to try, and he decided to do it. After two years of this experimental trial, his cancer was in remission. He was back to normal, walking the neighbors dog everyday, going around visiting with all of his neighbors, and doing tons of work remodeling his home. So over the course of 10 years, my grandpa was traveling to visit family and getting back into his everyday routine.

In the fall of 2011, we were notified that his cancer was back. When my mom told me the news, I didn’t want to think about it. I hated the thought of not seeing him every summer or not being able to call him and tell him all about my basketball games. Although we were very thankful for the time we had with him, it was still very difficult to deal with, as this man means so much to everyone who knows him. The last two years have been very long as we talk to him whenever we can, send him letters, and think of him daily. And still as he deals with this terrible disease, every time we talk to him, it is all about what is going on in our lives, and not about how sick he is or what he is dealing with.

I am sure that with two battles with cancer and being 14 years older, there are many days when it would be easy for him to give up, but this man just keeps going strong. My grandpa is one of my biggest role models, because as he faces one of the hardest struggles in life, he does not give up. Even with his sickness, he still puts other people ahead of himself.

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