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In Golf and Cancer, Never Give Up

By June 16, 2008

Yesterday was father's day and millions of dads (and millions of not-dads) gathered around their televisions to watch the broadcast of the U.S. Open. My husband was one of them. I was able to enjoy the occasional tee off between wrestling the kids and cleaning out the closet. My husband had his eyes on Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate; I only had eyes for the U.S. Open Challenge foursome that included Justin Timberlake, Matt Lauer, and Tony Romo. Yeah, golf is a very visual game for me. So, who was this obscure, unknown fourth person in that fabulous foursome?

Turns out it was John Atkinson, a 39 year old husband, father, and life-time non-smoker who was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 2007. John won an essay contest sponsored by Golf Digest and the U.S. Open, securing him a once in a lifetime opportunity to play alongside some of the most handsome...eh hem... I mean most talented golfers in the U.S. In his essay, John wrote, "I've enjoyed golfing throughout my chemotherapy. Golf gives me great pride, inspiration and strength as I continue teeing it up with my friends. Nothing's better than taking your buddies while on chemotherapy!

"If I can beat America's deadliest cancer, then I can definitely break 100 at its Open. Everybody will witness a man with a heart of a champion and a soul of a survivor. More importantly, you will understand why you never, never NEVER give up!"

John is an inspiration to us all. Whatever treatment options he's faced with - whether it's chemotherapy, radiation, or palliative care - John has shown us that he will continue to live his life and play a game he loves. A game that, so far, has provided him with emotional and physical well-being. Here's to hoping that John can continue "taking" his buddies on the course!!


John Atkinson tees off with Justin Timberlake Photo Scott Halleran/Getty Images

July 16, 2009 at 11:36 am
(1) Sympathy Gifts says:

What a great resource for people dealing with a loss. Sometimes there is no one there to help deal with the massive amounts of work involved after a death. This is also a great resource for someone helping out the bereaved after a loss.

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