This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

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After The Game

© 2010 Felix_P

Chapter Fifty-four

The next morning I was up early reading the Sunday paper in my chair by the picture window, in the Living room. Jake had joined me shortly after I got up and was reading his Italian paper, since he hadn't had a chance to read it the day before because of the birthday party. Dana and Sean were still sleeping.

After a short while, a very sleepy looking Sean made his way into the Living room in his pyjamas, plopped himself down and snuggled in beside me. He was filling out and growing taller and even though I was in an oversized chair, he took up a lot more room than he used to.

"Ok, I give. Does this mean you're hungry?" I asked.

He sighed and said, "Maybe."

"Did you have a good Birthday, Son?"

He looked up at me, gave me a big smile and shook his head yes, so I put my arm around him and gave him a hug. He didn't have to say any more, as he had a very contented look on his face.

Dana and I had a talk before we went to bed the night before about what he revealed about his previous birthdays. We both were disturbed by the neglect from his mother and it snapped us back to reality that he was still bothered by those bad memories of his days with her. We knew those memories wouldn't go away, but we were hoping that over time they wouldn't evoke the type of emotional display we had seen as we put him to bed the night before.

Dana got up and we finally had breakfast and made our way to church. It was a good service and the boys had a great time singing the songs. Randy's sermon was about 'Money Doesn't Buy Happiness' and he left the congregation with some things to think about. I couldn't help but think of my situation of new found wealth some years ago and how I vowed that it wouldn't change my focus in life. I regarded my family as my richest asset and the money gave me a chance to provide security for everyone that I loved. Even though I had a talk with the boys when we set up their trust funds, I wanted to make sure they understood Randy's sermon and how that impacted them.

"Reverend MacLaughlin talked about some pretty important concepts today, boys. I hope you remember some of the things that he said. I consider myself a very rich man, but it has little to do with my money and a lot to do with the people in my life," I said as I smiled at them and Dana.

Randy sometimes picked songs that would go well with his sermon and this service was no exception. He chose the U2 song 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' to end the service. There was a thread there that fit with having monetary wealth and not really being fulfilled. Whatever the meaning, both boys recognized the song and enjoyed singing it. They didn't know who recorded it though.

"That was a cool song we sang at the end of the service," Sean said.

"Yeah. It sounded familiar," Jake said.

"Look up U2 in my CD collection and it's on the 'Rattle and Hum' album," I said.

There was more I wanted to say but I decided that was for another time. We walked down the aisle to greet Randy at the door.

"Well I'm glad to see the Burger family back at church. We've missed you the last little while," he said as he gave us a big smile.

He took a few moments to talk to the boys about their trip and that the first Junior Choir practice was that week. After we left church, we stopped in at the grocery superstore to pick up some flowers for Jake's mother and uncle's grave, as they had a florist section that was well stocked.

"How about these?" Dana asked as she pulled out a nice bouquet.

"Mom and uncle really liked daisies," he said as he pulled out another bunch from the various choices.

When we got to the cemetery Dana asked Jake if we could accompany him, as we hadn't been to the gravesite with him for months and he agreed. When we got there he knelt down and placed the flowers in the brass vase that was attached to the grave marker. He stayed like that for a few moments in silence as he stared at the grave. Finally he got up and Dana and I put our arms around him.

"Are you alright, Son?" I asked.

He shook his head yes and then asked, "Can I be alone for a few minutes?"

We left him and returned to the car. After about five minutes he returned and got in the back seat with Sean. He looked OK and it didn't appear that he had been crying.

"Are you sure you're alright, honey?" Dana asked.

"I'm OK.... Thanks."

The boys had invited Stéphane and Charles over to practice after we finished lunch. They were bursting to try out the new guitars with the other two 'band' members. When they arrived, the boys helped Charles down with his drum kit. We invited Mark to spend the afternoon with us and stay for a BBQ. Thank goodness we were on the patio deck, as we could hear some muffled noise even through the Studio and patio doors.

"How is Charles adjusting to high school?" I asked Mark after we sat down on the patio.

"He's making out pretty well. Except for that incident with Sean and those boys, he's enjoying himself."

"I'm so proud and glad that he took such quick action to get that teacher. I shudder to think the damage those boys would have inflicted on Sean and Stéphane if that hadn't been broken up so quickly," Dana said to Mark.

He went on to tell us that it wasn't just Charles that helped, but another boy, Ronald McLennan, ran in with him. Apparently this boy was in Grade 10 but was in Charles' and Jake's Grade 9 Business class. Ronald knew the school and where to locate the teachers at lunch hour. Charles and he had struck up a friendship and seemed to have a number of interests in common.

After about an hour, the boys came out on the patio and asked if they could get a snack.

"Only if you bring us out something and some refills for our drinks," I said as I gave them a big smile.

They came down later and brought us a platter of cut up vegetables with some dip that was in the fridge, as well as some beers for Mark and me and another glass of wine for Dana.

"When are we going to be invited in for the show?" I asked.

"Soon. We just have to go over some more things," Sean said as they took off inside to the Studio.

After another half hour, we were called into the Studio. They started off by playing 'Lyin' Eyes' as they knew that song the best. It really sounded different with the electric bass and guitar. After they finished the song we clapped and I gave them some gentle feedback. I told Sean to use another pickup on his guitar rather than the one that he was using and suggested that the volume levels needed to be adjusted, as we could barely hear the singing. I also gave Jake some tips on his bass guitar part. They tried it again, with my suggestions and it was much improved. It actually sounded quite good, especially their voices. Jake was turning out to be quite a good singer as he had a lot of natural talent along with a good voice.

"You've gotta hear this next one," Charles said with glee.

He counted out the beat on his drumsticks and they launched into 'Summer of 69'. Sean had the opening raspy guitar part almost down pat as they started. Jake then took over with an equally raspy voice as he was close to imitating Bryan Adams. I wondered how long he would be able to sing in that range as his voice lowered to it's natural level. They did a great job and even Stéphane was loosening up with the organ part that he was able to play on the Clavinova. It didn't appear that he had a lot of music written down that he was following.

The one who I found most amusing was Charles. The shy red-headed boy certainly disappeared when he got behind the drum kit. He really got into the songs, as the drumsticks were flying around in the air as he bashed the various parts of the kit. He was also very good at duplicating the various drum lines in the songs and had a great sense of rhythm. What he lacked in technique he more than made up in enthusiasm.

"Great job," Mark said as we all clapped.

"You guys'll be ready for the ACC (Air Canada Centre) soon," I said as we all laughed.

Then next day, our second practice with the hockey team was as much an adventure as the first one. It was clear we were not going to be the most talented team, but all of the kids, with the notable exception of Carson, our resident superstar, were very enthusiastic and hard working. They wanted to learn how to play better and they realized that the coaching staff knew what they were talking about.

Jake, Sean and Charles were coming along nicely in their skill development and I was confident they would do well, as they were smart kids. They were picking up the tactics of the game and the more they played the better they would get. Charles was a bit of a surprise, as he seemed to be developing a knack for shooting the puck. He let go a couple of very hard slapshots during the shooting drills. He was gaining some height and even though he was still a skinny kid, he generated a lot of leverage in his shooting motion.

"Wow! We're going to start calling you the red rocket," I said as he sailed one over Jake's glove hand from the blue line, into the net.

Even though it was difficult to see his face because of the wire face mask, I could see him beaming from ear-to-ear.

I could also see that Carson was going to test my abilities as an educator and coach. I decided that I would try some psychology to see if I could get through to him. At one point in the practice I had a chance to talk to him alone after he had finished one of the drills where he dogged it.

"You know, Carson, we're counting on you this season. You're our best player and the coaches expect you to lead by example," I said as I put my hand on his shoulder pads.

So much for psychology. Even though I couldn't see his face very well through his face mask, I could feel the glare of disdain coming from him. Finally he said, "Yeah, whatever."

I was a pretty patient person, but I had my limits. Carson and his father were getting very close to testing them. Rickie however, was not as patient and near the end of the practice he blew his stack. We were doing breakouts again and Carson had been skating at half speed the last two times down the ice.

"Spencer, next time you better skate hard. I'm going to give you a head start and then I'm taking off after you. If I catch you before you shoot, I'm going to flatten you on your ass."

I wasn't a big fan of intimidation, but it did produce the desired result. After the practice his father came down from the stands where he was watching. Rickie, Mark and I were debriefing after the practice and going over preparations for the first game which was the next week.

"The convenor said if you agree, Carson can be traded to the team with his friend and one of their boys can replace him," he said as he rudely interrupted us once more.

I was very skeptical, as I had just talked with the Dénis Bateaux and Carson was one of things we had talked about. He wasn't in favour of moving any of the kids at this point in the season. I was also wondering who this friend was, as he didn't seem to have any that the boys were aware of. He was pretty well a loner at school and occasionally hung around with a boy who was as obnoxious as he was, according to Sean, Jake and Charles. I was wondering if that was the friend he was talking about.

"That wasn't my understanding when I talked with Dénis last night. I'll touch base with him again," I said as I then turned and started to talk to Mark and Rickie.

I used Dénis' first name to let him know he was a friend. He got the message and left.

Earlier in the week the Lexus dealer called us and said that our LX 570 would be ready in a couple of days. We picked up the boys after school and went to the dealership to get it. It was better than the pictures in the brochure and had lots of room. The dark gray exterior and grey leather interior looked fantastic.

"I think we can get all the hockey equipment in here," I said smiling as we drove off the lot.

"It's a shame to destroy that new car smell with all that stinky hockey equipment," Dana said. The boys and I laughed, which didn't go over very well.

There were so many hi-tech features on the vehicle that it would take some while for me to learn how to use them, even though the salesperson went over a lot of them before we left. The boys particularly liked the LED screens in the back of the front seats, as they had brought a DVD to watch as we drove home.

The annual Terry Fox run for Cancer was coming up the next week and the boys' school would be involved. Terry Fox was a heroic Canadian who undertook a Marathon of Hope in 1980 to run from one end of Canada to the other. The goal was to raise money for Cancer research, as Terry had lost his leg below the knee to the disease and ran on a prosthetic leg. The yearly run in September for Cancer research had been a great success over the years and had raised over $400 million.

My former colleague, Graham Barton, had phoned me to see if I could help out with some organizing duties with the schools in the area. Graham had taken my job as Head of the Business and Computer Studies department in my old school after I had retired. He was a cancer survivor as he had lost a leg below the knee when he was seventeen years old. It was the same type of cancer that Terry Fox had succumbed to and like Terry he had an artificial leg.

This was one of my efforts along with the Fathers Day Run For Prostate Cancer that I supported each year. After my treatment for Prostate Cancer, I became more aware of the need to raise funds for this insidious disease, as I was shocked at how little the doctors knew about the cause, to say nothing about the rather debilitating treatment options Lorraine and I were faced with.

Graham volunteered to go to the surrounding schools on behalf of the Canadian Cancer Society and talk to the kids to encourage them to support the run in their schools. Both Sean and Jake brought home permission forms to participate in it.

"I think you might know some people that would sponsor you," Dana said as I signed their forms.

"Melissa said that there was this kid in her school that raised tons of money last year for the run. He gave a presentation at their assembly that she said was really cool," Sean said.

I asked him to get his name as I was thinking that this may be a way to boost the participation for this year's run. The amount of funds raised had dropped significantly in the area over the past years and they were looking for a way to rekindle the enthusiasm.

Sean came down about an hour later and told me the boy's name was Josh Chambers. Melissa had given Sean his telephone number to contact him. I called Graham and told him my news and he thought that would be a great idea if Josh was willing to speak. When I called, his mother, Susan, answered the phone. After I explained why I was phoning she told me I should talk to his dad, Tom.

"I understand your son is quite the young man," I said.

"We think so. He amazes us every day," he replied with a great deal of pride.

We talked about Josh coming to the boys' school to make his presentation and Tom said he would talk it over with him and call us back. The local Cancer Society Chapter was going to foot the bill for any of their expenses. After about twenty minutes I got a call back. I was a little surprised when I answered as it wasn't Tom on the phone.

"Hello Mr. Burger. This is Josh Chambers speaking. My Dad told me about talking at your sons' assembly and I'd be happy to do it," he said with a very clear and commanding voice.

I was quite impressed that he was so at ease talking to an adult he didn't know, but more than that he was very well spoken. Tom then took the phone and we made final arrangements. Since the assembly was early in the morning, I invited Tom and Josh to stay at our place the night before so they didn't have to fight the Toronto morning traffic. It would give Josh a chance to acclimatize himself to the situation the next day, as well as meet Graham, who I would invite over for dinner.

Tom and Josh arrived shortly after 6 pm. the night before the assembly. They didn't have any trouble locating the house as I found out they both had military backgrounds and were very good at navigation. I was rather surprised when I saw Tom, as he couldn't have been more than twenty or twenty-one years old. Clearly he wasn't Josh's father.

After we greeted them, the boys took Josh down to the Media room to show him the Studio and watch some TV before dinner. Shortly after that Graham and his wife Wanda arrived. We had a chance to sit down, have some drinks and chat before things were ready for dinner.

Tom had an interesting background and he told us the story of the relationship he had with Josh. Even though Tom was the age of an older brother, this relationship was more of a parental one than brotherly. Clearly it was obvious that both of them benefited from the relationship and were as close as any father and son I had seen in my life.

"Josh and I are each other's strength. I rely on him as much as he does me. He's an amazing young man," Tom said with pride.

Graham filled Tom in on his background and his work with the Cancer society. He also told him that he was the stunt double in the latest film on Terry Fox's life. He was the one that was doing the actual running with a wig on that looked like Terry's curly hair. Graham was well qualified to do the running as he was a triathlete who had competed in many competitions for disabled athletes.

"Someday I hope medical science finds the silver bullet. But until then, events like this are invaluable in funding the research to get to that goal," Graham said.

I told Tom that our Tim Horton stores were going to donate a dollar for every five dollars raised by the local schools as well as providing water, juice, cookies and muffins for the runners on race day. I also told him that I was willing to extend the offer to Josh's school, even though I knew it could turn out to be costly if Josh raised the same amount as he had done the year before. By now the boys had joined us and heard the last part of the conversation.

"Are you serious, Mr. Burger?" Josh asked.

"I sure am, young man."

Josh had a big smile on his face as he looked at me and then Tom.

"I think your school's going to break their record from last year for donations, bud," Tom said to Josh.

We had a great meal, as Dana had outdone herself once again. The boys seemed to be getting along very well and had a lot of common interests. Graham went over the agenda for the assembly the next morning and Josh and Tom told him what they had planned. Josh was very proud of his girlfriend Shelly, who he explained was the motivation behind his efforts in the run.

"Melissa's a really nice girl too. She tells me you guys are an item," he said to Sean with a big grin on his face. Sean gave a bashful smile in return.

Tom was a Computer Science student at the University of Toronto and he had developed an excellent multimedia software program that Josh was going to use. I had arranged the data projector and hookup that he would need, as well as the wireless microphone for tomorrow. Tom was very proud of his work on the program and when he found out Graham and I had taught computer science courses he showed us some of the code he had developed. Jake was somewhat interested but Sean was quite taken with the coding of the program. He had taught himself some computer programming when he had developed his website.

"I have a very close friend in the programming business that's helped me with this," Tom said as he gave Josh a big smile. I gathered that the person he was talking about was more than just a friend from the looks they exchanged.

The next morning Dana and I were up early to prepare breakfast for everyone. I was driving the boys to school, as I was going to announce the offer from our Tim Horton stores in the assembly as I had the last couple of years. When we got to the school, I introduced Tom and Josh to Gord Caudle, the Prinicpal.

"I've heard a lot of good things about you, Josh. We're very happy you could join us this morning," he said.

About 8:45 the school assembled in the auditorium for the presentation. Graham spoke to the student body and showed a short clip that he had developed with funding from the Cancer Society, as well as a clip of him running in the Terry Fox film.

I took the podium next and explained the role our Tim Horton stores were taking and then it was Josh's turn. I was quite impressed at how poised he seemed throughout the proceedings up to this point, as he didn't show any overt nervousness.

"Cancer. The Big C. Neuroblastoma. Osteosarcoma. Leukemia. These words don't really mean much unless you're a doctor, so let's put cancer in its proper perspective," Josh began. "I'd like everyone to stand up for a moment. Now starting with the person on the far left of each row, I'd like every other person to sit down."

The audience did as Josh had requested and then he continued.

"Take a look around you. Fifty percent of you are still standing and that's how many of you are going to be touched by cancer in your lifetime. Think about that for a moment. One out of two of the people in this room will either be diagnosed with cancer or will know and love someone who is. Would every one on the left side of the room please sit down," Josh instructed. "About 25% of you are still standing. That's the number of people in this very room who, according to statistics, will die of cancer. Sobering, isn't it?" A hush fell over the audience as what Josh had said to them sank in. "The rest of you can sit down now."

Behind Josh the screen flashed to life with pictures of Terry Fox.

"Fortunately, this disease as terrible as it is, can be beaten. It is not invincible. Terry Fox knew that. He fought not only his own cancer but he took it upon himself to fight for everyone. At twenty-one years of age, barely older than any of us here, he decided to fight back in the only way that he knew how. Terry was an athletic youth before he lost his leg to osteosarcoma, but he didn't let the loss of a limb stop him. He set for himself the goal of raising one dollar from each and every Canadian. At that time, that amounted to about $24 million. With little fanfare and even less support in the beginning, he began running across this country at a rate of one entire marathon per day. He did that each and every day on one leg, through good weather and bad. He ran through the pain and the fatigue with a single minded focus on his goal of defeating the disease that was, even at that time, killing him. As he continued his run, people began to take notice. Like a snowball rolling down a hill, the donations began to pour in. People began to run along side him on the highway. When he arrived at Toronto City Hall, he arrived to a massive crowd and was welcomed as a conquering hero. As the donations flooded in, it began to look like he would achieve his goal, but sadly it was not to be. At least not in the way that Terry had expected. On a lonely stretch of the Trans-Canada highway, a place that I have personally visited, he was forced to call off his run. His cancer had returned and spread to his lungs. Less than a year later, at only 23 years of age, the disease that he fought so valiantly against claimed his life."

The screen changed to show a photograph of the Terry Fox Monument near Thunder Bay. The monument consisted of a granite slab engraved with a map of Canada. Above the slab was a granite arch engraved with the coat of arms of Canada and of all the provinces. Standing on top of the arch was a two times life-sized statue of Terry Fox running on his artificial leg.

"While Terry never achieved his goal of running from coast-to-coast, he did achieve his goal of raising $1 from every Canadian. Days after he was forced to abandon his run, a nationally broadcast telethon for cancer research raised an astonishing 10 million dollars bringing the total raised in Terry's Marathon of Hope to just over $24 million. The story could end there but it didn't. After Terry died in June of 1981, the torch was passed to the rest of us. That fall, the first Terry Fox run was held at more than 760 sites across Canada. It has been held every year since and to date has raised more than $400 million for cancer research. Terry has become a national hero in Canada but he has also become an international hero. Terry's legacy is known around the world. Terry Fox runs are now held in dozens of countries on every continent except Antarctica."

Josh paused for a moment as the screen changed to show a picture of his girlfriend shelly when she was near death from Neuroblastoma.

"That's Terry's story. His legacy is an inspiration to us all but his is not the only story. Each of us has or will have a cancer story of our own. That's what we need to run for. We need to run and raise money in Terry's name, but we need to do it not for Terry but for those among us who are suffering from this disease. We must run for our mothers, our fathers, our siblings and for our friends. This girl behind me is my cancer story. Her name is Shelly. She's my girlfriend. When this photo was taken, she had been told that she had only six months or less to live."

Josh pressed a button and the picture changed to a radiant looking Shelly in a black cocktail dress standing arm-in-arm with a smiling Tuxedo clad Josh.

"This is Shelly today, more than a year later, happy, healthy and completely free of cancer. Shelly was suffering from neuroblastoma which is almost always fatal. The disease had taken her hope just as surely as it was taking her life. I saw through her disease and saw what a beautiful girl she really was and I did my best to give her back her hope. That hope helped her to overcome her disease. Fighting cancer is not always about medicine. It is also about hope and about faith. By running in the Marathon of Hope you are raising money for the research into new medicines that cancer patients need, but you are also restoring their hope. Hope is a powerful thing that can move mountains. Remember that all hope is real and all hope is valid. There is no such thing as false hope."

The screen changed to show some footage of Josh's first Terry Fox run at his school.

"My challenge to you is this. Do what Terry did. Get out there and do something about this terrible disease. Don't let the fact that we are 'only' teenagers get in your way. We can do something. We can make a difference. Sign up for the Terry Fox run and run your heart out. If you can't run, ride a bike, roller blade, walk. Get out there and raise as much money as you can. Terry Fox once said 'I believe in miracles. I have to because somewhere, the hurting must stop.' You can help stop the hurting. One of you in this room may raise the very dollar that will tip the scales forever against this disease. Shelly's doctor told her parents 'The science of this disease is pretty straight forward and, unfortunately, doesn't offer much hope. In my experience, the human spirit, when properly motivated, regularly beats the science.' This is your chance to raise hope, to motivate that human spirit and to become the miracle that some suffering child so desperately needs. Thank you and good luck in your fundraising."

Josh stepped down from the podium to thunderous applause from the assembled students and teachers. He turned towards them briefly and waved and gave them a thumbs-up before taking his seat. It was clear from their reaction that those in the audience felt as if they had experienced something special. Josh's presentation had transformed cancer from something bad that happened to others, into something that profoundly affected each and every person.

When the assembly was finished we went back to Gord's office. Jake and Sean came with us as I had them excused from their next class. They wanted to say goodbye to Josh and Tom before they left. I sensed a bond had been formed between the three boys and I certainly wanted to help that blossom. Josh was the type of kid I wanted in their peer group.

"That was quite a presentation, Josh. I'd like to talk to the folks at the Terry Fox Foundation about taping that presentation, if you're willing," Graham said.

Josh and Tom thought that was a great idea, so Graham agreed to keep in touch as he pursued the possibility of making it happen.

Josh then turned to the boys and said, "We'll keep in touch," as they locked thumbs in a handshake.

The boys went back to class and I walked with Tom and Josh to the parking lot.

"You're an impressive young man, Josh Chambers," I said as I shook his hand. "I'll be calling your Principal this afternoon to tell him about my fund raising offer."

"Thanks, sir. My Dad and I want to thank you for your generosity and the opportunity to help," he said as he and Tom smiled.

We said our goodbyes and they got into their Jeep. I couldn't help but think that we would hear more about Josh in the future. He certainly had the type of charisma that made a great leader.

I hadn't wanted to alarm the boys, but I had an appointment the next day at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto to monitor my Prostate Cancer treatment. It was one of my twice yearly checkups to make sure that my PSA was falling to undetectable levels. With Brachytherapy (radioactive seed implants) it took almost four years before PSA readings fell to that level. I was three and half years out from my treatment and my last reading was falling, but was still not to the level that I could be pronounced in remission.

I always worried about the blood results as there were no guarantees with any Cancer treatment that one was free and clear of the disease. My experience with Lorraine's Breast Cancer was a painful reminder of that. After her initial treatment we thought she was in remission, but it came back two years later and within six months she was gone. I guess my anxiousness was showing through and both boys picked up on it.

"Is there something wrong, Dad?" Sean asked at the breakfast table.

"Nothing's wrong, Son," I replied.

"You're acting kinda funny," Jake said.

I guess I wasn't very good at hiding my emotions and both boys were getting very good at reading my body language. Finally I told them where I was going that morning and they both became very quiet.

"Boys, I don't want you to worry. It's just a checkup to see how things are progressing. It's nothing to worry about," I said trying to reassure them.

"If it's nothing to worry about, how come you're uptight?" Sean asked.

I told them a little bit more about my treatment and side effects, but I refrained from some of the more graphic parts. I got my blood results at my appointment and thankfully my PSA reading had fallen again and was almost at the undetectable level. I was in a more relaxed mood when I got home that evening and the boys and Dana were relieved when I told them of my good news.

The day of the Terry Fox run was a sunny but cool one. It was about 18°C and the boys had t-shirts on. Dana, ever the mother, started to get on the boys about not being warm enough.

"If you boys don't bundle up you're going to get sick," she said.

"We're going to be boiling at the end of the run," Sean replied somewhat curtly.

After some back-and-forth between the two boys and Dana, I stepped in before World War three broke out.

"How about you carry their warm-up jackets and give them to them when they finish. You'll be at the finish line anyway," I said to Dana. That was enough to seal the peace accord and the boys took off to start the race.

The two of them had no trouble with the length of the course and finished in the first group of runners. They were in great running shape as they were still going out in the morning most days. Dana was at the table where they were stamping the sponsor sheets as the runners completed their runs. She got a look at the boys' sheets as they got them stamped. After she looked at their sheets, she came over to the table where I was helping with the distribution of the drinks and snacks to the runners.

"Did you see the boys' sponsor sheets?" She asked.

When I told her I hadn't, she said, "You need to look at them."

The boys finally joined us and I asked to see their sponsor sheets. When I looked at them they had quite a few sponsors and they had sponsored each other.... for $2500!

"That's from our bank accounts. We have enough money," Sean said matter-of-factly.

"You said we could spend it the way we wanted to. We thought that was a great use of our money," Jake said with a big grin.

"It's going to a great cause and Josh said we should be running for someone we know," Sean said as he smiled.

"And we were," Jake said as the two of them came over and gave me a very sweaty hug.

Author's note: I'd like to thank Scribe1971, the author of Substitute Dad, for his contribution to this chapter. The speech by Josh Chambers is his writing. For those of you who are familiar with both stories, we have ignored the obvious time differentials that exist.

Substitute Dad is available as a link from Ted Louis' site as well as where it is hosted at The Story Lovers site.


The Terry Fox movie

Prostate Brachytherapy

Note: If you're a male over 50 years of age, I encourage you to have a PSA blood test done each year. It saves lives.

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