Friday, July 16, 2010
Below is a letter my brother wrote about our dad. You'll understand why I am absent from the craft world for a while.
I am writing this email in hopes that I can give my dying father one last gift. In order for you to understand my request, I would like to take a brief moment to tell you about my father.
My father’s name is Glenn Monroe Smith, and he is dying from a rare and incurable disease known as amyloidosis. To briefly describe the disease, amyloidosis refers to a variety of conditions in which insoluble amyloid proteins are abnormally deposited in organs and/or tissues causing them to lose their elasticity. My father’s stomach has been affected, and he has lost almost 100 pounds. He no longer eats solid foods. His main source of nutrition was coming from Ensure brand supplements. However, he can no longer stomach them. It has been over two weeks since he has had any sort of nutrition. The disease makes him extremely nauseated and he is in a lot of pain. He was involved with a clinical trial at Duke Hospital, but the experimental treatments made his quality of life worse. Consequently, he was taken off of the trial. He spends his entire time in bed, getting up only to use the restroom and take an occasional shower every few days. Dad is a shell of the man he once was.
My father has been a Tar Heel since his high school years in Tabor City, NC. He was the son of a teacher whose father left three months prior to his birth. In order to receive an education, he knew it had to be on scholarship. Dad worked hard on his grades and was valedictorian of his class at Tabor City High. He was a finalist for the Morehead Scholarship, and received a full-academic scholarship to attend Carolina in the fall of 1961. His first year was Coach Smith’s first year at Carolina. He met Coach Smith on a number of occasions and always mentioned this to him. Dad graduated with a degree in Chemistry in 1965, and went on to start our family shortly after graduating.
My father has been a Ram’s Club donor for about 30 years and has made donations for the construction of the Smith Center as well as renovations to Kenan Stadium back in the 90’s. My Mom and Dad's name is even on the wall of donors at Kenan. As far back as I can remember, Carolina athletics have been my Dad’s passion. He took me to my first game in the mid 70’s, and we have been attending football and basketball games together ever since. Our last game together was the Duke football game on November 7, 2009. God shone bright on Dad that day and the Heels won 19-6.
My Dad kept his season football tickets this year hoping for a miracle. We all prayed that he would somehow recover and be able to attend more games and spend time with his grandchildren. Basketball and Football games in Chapel Hill have always been a bonding experience for our family. I was looking forward to sending my first born to his first football game with my Dad. Unfortunately, my son will never know the joy of attending a game in Chapel Hill with his grandfather.
My father’s passion for North Carolina athletics is undeniable, and his passion turned into my passion at an early age. Though I am not an alumnus (I graduated from Radford University), I am a Tar Heel for life. I will be attending games this fall as I have been doing since the 70’s, but this year I will be without my father. In his place, a family friend will attend until my son Evan is old enough to do so. After my father passes, I am joining the Rams Club so that I can give my family the same gift that my father bestowed upon our family. Those involved with Carolina athletics always speak of the “Carolina Family.” Carolina has always been a big part of the Smith family.
I had been thinking for the longest time about what I could do for my Dad before he left us. The only thought that came to mind for my mother, sister and I was Carolina.
My sister contacted the Make a Wish foundation last week and was informed that they cannot help us with such a request, which is why I am writing to each of you.
I realize that Coach Williams, Coach Smith, Coach Davis and Woody have very busy schedules and likely have very little time with families of their own. All we are asking for is for a few minutes of their time to visit my father. Just three to five minutes would suffice as Dad doesn’t have the energy to stay awake for any length of time. Their time would mean the world to him, and I cannot think of a gift that would bring a bigger smile to my Dad’s face. We only wish to return the favor that he gave to us so many years ago.
As of today, Dad is in hospice in Durham; however, we are transferring him to Hospice of Wake County in Raleigh, most likely by Monday, July 19th so that he will be closer to family. He may be allowed to go home (North Raleigh) if he so wishes, but the Hospice center has the ability to better manage his pain by administering morphine.
If you could please forward this message to the coaches and Woody, it would mean the world to my father, Glenn Smith…class of ’65…forever a Tar Heel.
Please contact me to let us know if anything can be done. I greatly appreciate your time in hearing my Dad's story.
Warren Glenn Smith