Ever since I can remember, my dad has awaken his family of five every Saturday and Sunday morning to the sound of raging rock and roll. He spends his free time teaching himself new chords and songs on one of his three treasured guitars. When we were younger, we’d begrudgingly roll out of bed and plead to him to cut off the racket. I can recall my younger brother, at the age of five, going downstairs to turn down my dad’s amp and yell ‘stop that noise!’ I could have never imagined that I’d miss my father’s early morning bellowing.
In November of 2008, our family received some heartbreaking news. My Dad’s long struggle with cancer had taken a turn for the worst. For months we waited in limbo for a solution to his illness. Hope came in the form of an experimental stem-cell research procedure. While the procedure showed promise, it was by no means without risk. Specialists depleted his body of blood cells using chemotherapy, bringing his immune system to a very low level. He had to stay in the hospital without visitors for five weeks. We were told that he had to stay in a completely sterile environment because without a sufficient level of white blood cells, even a small cold could potentially kill him. His own harvested stem cells were then used to replenish his body’s immune system and make him well again. While he was away, there could have been no sweeter sound than that ‘noise’ that he produced every weekend morning. When he came home in late May, 2009, his children picked up his guitars to humor him by strumming a poorly rehearsed song. We then handed him a guitar and had him serenade us. Although none of us play the guitar, we all share his love for music.