Will Patton in memory of his father.

The following is a story written by 12-year-old, Will Patton, as part of a class project, “The Power of Good.”   Will lost his father to melanoma in 2002.

“I felt good writing this story because I could let people know about how my life has been after my dad died.  I think many people will read my story and learn that they should really start to protect their skin from melanoma or any other skin cancer.   They should also protect their children’s skin when they are outside.  Also, some people may look at my story and think that if a 12 year-old kid like me can fight through the passing of his dad, maybe they can get through the passing of one of their family members. Here is the story I wrote for Outrun the Sun”

Will Patton

It makes people sad when I tell them that my dad died when I was 3 years old.  But I cannot remember too much about his illness or even when he died.  All I have of his memory are the wonderful stories and the pictures of my life with him.  Everybody says he was like a big teddy bear, a gentle man with a deep voice and a grin from ear to ear.  People say that I remind them of my dad.

My dad did not know he had melanoma:  he did not hurt or have any headaches.  He found and odd sized mole and decided to have it checked.    When he came home from his doctor’s appointment, the doctor said, “Go home and get prepared.”  They said he would be gone in 6 months.  During this time, I had no idea what was happening to my dad.  I know that he went to the doctor often, and he had to go the hospital for surgery.  My mom always told me that my dad was sick, and that she had to go visit him often.  I was so lucky because I always had an aunt or an uncle, or even my favorite babysitters to take care of me.  My dad died after having malignant melanoma for 18 months.  He fought until the end.

When he died, it was just me and my mom.  My life was normal.  She taught me how to ride a bike, fly a kite and even throw a baseball.  I was always a happy little kid.  My mom always talked about my dad, letting me know that he was always watching over me.  We looked at pictures of when my dad had hair…funny I do not remember him looking like that.  I remember him with no hair after he lost it all from special cancer treatments.  I remember sitting in my dad’s lap in a big blue chair and he was always watching TV or reading a book.  I have 100’s of pictures of my dad and me together.

I’m a pretty lucky kid.  My mom remarried a guy that knew my dad.  It’s been awesome because he talks about my dad and tells me stories of when they were growing up.  My new dad has been a great person for my mom and me.  He has helped me with so much.  I know my real dad is looking down on me and smiling:  I know he is very proud of me.  We all are involved in Outrun the Sun, in memory of my dad:  Gary Patton.

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