In memory of a lost smile
Dan Phelps’ wife Trish died December 2006 of lymphoma. He walks in the annual Weekend to End Breast Cancer because he believes the research it funds will ultimately benefit all who are dealing with cancer. And he walks to honour his late wife.
“Until I met Trish I'd never known anybody who smiled every day, a genuine smile. Even the day she died, even in horrible agony. She was just a genuinely good person who lit up the room when she walked into it,” says Phelps.
The couple’s encounter with cancer started innocently enough, with what looked like a pimple on her upper leg. In just a few months the pimple had grown “to the size of both my fists put together” and they learned they were in for a fight with a relatively rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
It doesn’t take a long meeting with Phelps to know that he’s the kind of person who is spurred to action when he sees a need. His first project was to raise almost $20,000 to buy small refrigerators for each of the rooms in the cancer ward. He says the wife who refused to cry in front of him was driven almost to tears when the communal kitchen closed and she had to call a nurse for something as simple as a drink of water. “She told me that it felt like she had lost her independence; that for the first time cancer had taken control. She didn’t want anybody else to feel like that.”
Phelps walked in his third Weekend to End Breast Cancer in Calgary at the end of July 2007 and weeks of training and fundraising. “If these funds help relieve anxiety and suffering for other families, then I know it’s worth it,” says Phelps.
“It’s leaving a legacy in Trish’s name, in her honour.”
Trish Phelps died in Calgary on December 15, 2006. She was 28 years old.