Contributed by: Don WinnerHis name is Jerry Dodson and, like many expats from many other countries, he and his wife Marj chose Panama to make their new home after they retired. They had been looking for the right country for a couple of years but in 2009, fell in love with Panama and all it had to offer. In 2009, they purchased some land and broke ground in 2010. They were expecting to move into their new home in the fall of 2011.
Little did they know, their future was up for grabs and that their new home may be wishful thinking. In late 2010, his wife underwent some challenging surgery for severe migraines that plagued her for many years. She would be a ‘new woman’. Jerry’s job was to nurse her through those two months. Little did they expect, a late Christmas present in early January left him with impaired vision and a few side effects from a stroke. So Marj then became the caregiver. However, just around the corner in early February, Marj was diagnosed with two types of cancer after exploratory surgery for something non-life-threatening. Family, amazing friends and work colleagues came to their rescue and ensured they were looked after. They were overwhelmed by their unsolicited generosity and concern for them and are forever grateful.
As Jerry’s vision began to come back (he now has 90%), their roles reversed again and he again became the caregiver through a very long and tough journey and regimen of cancer treatments. As tough as it was, incredibly, Marj never complained, except for not being allowed to have a glass of red wine once in a while! At this point they doubted they would ever see their new adopted home in San Carlos. Their answer and their motivation for making the move immediately after the treatments, came in the form of a second, however smaller stroke. That was their turning point. Either they gave up, sold their home and moved into a condo or forge ahead with their plans for Panama. Needless to say, Panama won out!
They hadn’t gone through all of those challenges to then just give in and not have the future they dreamed about for years. So they came to Panama and moved into their home last December to see if they had made the right choice…..they had! They returned to their cottage in Canada for the Canadian summer to gain their strength back and put the past behind them. During his nightly regimen of walks along the beach, Jerry got stronger and began 3-5 km nightly walks. They developed into faster and longer jaunts and he felt a new life-energy. An opportunity came along to sign up for training for a cancer marathon and he couldn’t say no. This was his chance to pay forward his second chance at life and to help make a difference to those who faced what his wife had to face. No one should endure that kind of pain and uncertainty about life. It is so hard on loved ones and family and friends as well, especially for those who lost their battle, as did some of their friends. What he could do to help change that, he knew he had to. This will be his legacy and what he will be most proud of, not what he accomplished through his career or what he has personally amassed.
His neurosurgeon has given him the go-ahead with the caution to ensure he pace myself. His goal is to not finish first but cross the line for his wife Marj and those that face this horrific disease, so they and future families may have hope.
He feels very fortunate to be in a position to meet this marathon challenge compared to the anguish and pain those with the disease have to deal with. Fortunately, cancer research has given many people a new lease on life. Marj is one of those who he considers the real heroes. She has been amazing through her ordeal and that only inspires him to do what he can.
There aren’t too many people who haven’t been touched by cancer. What little we can all do, can and will make staggering inroads to eradicating the disease so others’ lives may be saved. Would you help make a difference by sponsoring Jerry?
LLS is the world’s largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education and patient services. Researchers have made incredible strides in new treatments primarily because people understand the value of giving to help others in need. Jerry will deal with the stress and pain of doing the marathon but he needs your support to help him reach his financial goal ($7,777.77) and bring awareness to as many people in Panama as possible. The more people are aware, the greater chance they have of fighting this disease.
Corporate Sponsorship is desperately needed as well as through individuals. Businesses that are community minded and want to make a difference can contact Jerry personally at any time by calling 6844-9275. Corporate sponsors also will receive benefits and recognition, up to and including next year’s marathon. Your help would be most invaluable and you would be doing a good thing for the people of Panama and the world while being recognized for your contribution and support.
Together, we can all make a difference! Cross the finish line with Jerry!
Jerry’s website and donation page is: http://tinyurl.com/jerrys-marathon-homepage
Remember the big fundraising event at Paraiso, Las Uvas on March 15th, starts at 6pm. Great food, dancing, sala, prizes, 50-50, games, and more! Tickets are $15.00.
Tickets are available now from the following locations:
1) Paraiso. Rose has also graciously offered Paraiso as the venue to host this event….. thank you Rose!
2) From the office of PlayaCommunity.com in Coronado. Or …
3) From Jerry , just call 6844-9275 ( he will deliver within a reasonable distance)