The Walking Sticks

Sophia and uncle Chris Vernal FallsTrail, Yosemite
Sophia and uncle Chris Vernal Falls Yosemite
 

The Walking Sticks

How it Started

  When the children were young we would travel to visit family on the weekends and that was our family adventures. It was 2006 when cancer struck our family. It started with a little bump on my nieces nose that turned into cancer. After a year of radiation and chemo she was said to be in remission. At this time I was planning my high school 20th reunion and learned that one of my favorite friends had a similar cancer. He was seeking treatment from Stanford and Sophie had just finished hers. I wrote to Dino and told of her good experience with Stanford and how it would all work out. He started to blog his experience and it became something I had to read everyday. As always he wrote with such eloquence using his humor and brutal honesty to to share his experience. He wrote of his travel and the beauty of Yosemite, at the time I had grown up in California and never been there. So fast he was here and then he was not and the shock of it left me with the true realization life is short, what am I doing with the life God has given me. A few months later Sophie's cancer returned. Dino's words were always with me and I made it my mission to get Sophie to see Yosemite. The more I talked about it the more people wanted in what started as a group of 4 grew to a group of 19. My mother began calling everyday to try and get any cancellations, and then it happened one day five tent cabins opened up and she grabbed them, we were on our way! That summer we made it to the Vernal Falls trail my husband carried Sophie on his shoulders and she got to experience the beauty Dino had spoke of. Sophie was happy, funny and full of energy, it was truly one of the best experiences of my life. The kids bought their walking sticks and metal tabs and so began our National Park adventures. We had the best summer together a week after we left Sophie's cancer caused a stroke a few months later she was gone. Words can never express our loss at never being able to see her grow I will forever be thankful to Dino for sharing his words and giving our family the gift of being together to get out and climb something. The children are now teens and our oldest is on her way to college where she is all ready planning her hikes. Sophia is a big part of our lives and in her honor we walk every year in the American Cancer Society's relay for life. It is our honor to walk for Sophie, Dino and our friend Ted. Cancer can and does change everything cherish every moment with your family explore together, you find out a lot while walking together!
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The Walking sticks
   

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