My Cancer Journey - Weeks 33 and 34

Drew Remenda is a friend from Saskatoon.  He is the colour commentator for the San Jose Sharks TV broadcasts in the NHL.  He is also one of the best radio talents I have had the pleasure of coaching.  He is an entertaining and compelling talk show host, never shy with his opinions on just about everything.  Today he wrote a blog post on the Sharks website in reaction to my most recent Ted update.  Thought I’d share it with you. 

Never Alone

I have always had the good fortune in life to be around good people. People that have been mentors, who have tried to show me the right way to live. Growing up I looked up to my parents, who did the best job raising three very different rambunctious boys. My two older brothers often beat the tar out of me when I got mouthy,(apparently even when I was a kid I was opinionated)! But I learned from the fights and from the way they lived. I had great hockey coaches. Men who taught me about the game but demonstrated the ethics and morals that helped all of the kids on the team see the right way to do things. Even now at 48 I still look up to people. Kevin Compton and Todd McLellan are two men that are successful both professionally and personally and whose moral compasses are always pointed in the right direction. I treasure the relationships and the lessons I have learned from all my mentors and coaches in life, but recently a friend and former boss has inspired me.

During the Lockout a man named Ted Farr hired me at Rawlco Radio in Saskatchewan to host a Sports talk show. Ted is a lifelong radio man with a background in sports. In fact he covered the 72 Summit Series when he was a young sports guy in Vancouver. 

Even though I had zero experience in hosting a radio show he saw potential in me and launched the Drew Remenda Sports Show. Throughout the infancy of the show Ted gave me the best coaching I ever had in my life. Thanks to Ted's mentorship the show had a strong foundation and has been on the air for over 5 years now.

Unfortunately Ted did not remain with the company. Tragedy hit Ted and his wonderful wife when their son died. It was unexpected and brutally unfair. Like any parents it hit Ted and Terri very hard. But they struggled, coped and eventually got through and back to normal, if you can ever get back to normal when you lose a child. But Ted and Terri decided to make a life change and get closer to family in British Columbia.  So he left the company to slow down a bit and enjoy life.

As we all know life doesn't care about your plans and about a year ago Ted was diagnosed with throat cancer. Adversity and misfortune seemed to be following my friend. Instead of sulking and crying "poor me", Ted started to fight for his life.

What is unique about Ted’s fight is how he involved all of his friends in his struggle. Now I'm not much of a social butterfly or social networker, but Ted is. So every week we, his friends would get an email. It was simply titled, Ted-Week 1. The emails told us all that was happening with his illness and his fight to stay alive. At times they were depressing and sad. Other emails gave a sense of hope. But every email for 33 weeks connected us in his life and I think he drew strength and support by keeping us in the know. I think he looked at us as his "team".

The latest email is very profound. Ted received an email from a friend who suffered and survived the same cancer. His name is Lyle Bauer. Lyle wrote to Ted, "your life has changed and now there will be many who look to you as a warrior for counsel and advice. This is a team not of our choosing. It however just might be the greatest team of our lives. Never alone!"

Ted added that we are all "Warriors". “Each one of us has life experience to share with others. We have all gone to war in one way or another. As survivors of those wars we are all stronger. When you have the chance to mentor someone with your unique viewpoint, please take it.”
In this day and age all we ever seem to talk about is controversy and bad behaviour. Many of us struggle to point out mentors and role models for our children. We often look for sports heroes or celebrities when maybe we should be looking closer to home.

For the Broadcaster Blog, I'm Drew Remenda

I don’t share this because he wrote about me and our family journey over the past two and a half years.  I share because of what Drew has to say.  He talks about his parents, his hockey coaches, his friends and mentors, about role models for our children and the search for personal inspiration.  Instead of enduring bad behaviour and engaging in the negatives of the world, perhaps we should celebrate the struggles and accomplishments of the people who are closest to us.  Thanks Drew.

I am feeling terrific.  This weekend we celebrate Terrie’s 60th birthday.  She inspires me every day.