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Keeping the Faith




Submitted by:
Michelle Howland

My brother Jay was struck in the prime of his life by a Grade 4 GBM. Jay is 13, mos. older than I to the day. Much like most siblings close in age, we had our share of squabbles. To this day, Jay refers to me as the nickname he bestowed upon me as a child;”Smelly”. I could be a Nobel Prize winner, to Jay, I’ll always be Smelly. All through school, Jay lettered in about every sport. While some thought his athletic success was simply being gifted, I knew the truth. Jay worked harder than anyone and simply refused to accept anything but being the best. After HS, Jay’s calling was the US Army, he again proved to be among the best. He spent many years protecting some of the highest ranking Generals at NATO HQ. After 9 years, Jay left the military for a more stable life for his family. Jay’s new career was as an Engineer for BNSF Railway,driving freight trains across the SW. Once again, being good wasn’t enough. He soon became the Pres of the Local RR Union. He continued in this role until his illness forced his retirement after 20+ years of service. Jay’s love for sports continued into adulthood. The week before being diagnosed, Jay&Cindy hiked 72 mi across Glacier Park. In July of 2018, headaches, strange smells & mild confusion sent Jay to the ER in Flagstaff. He was diagnosed with the GBM & within 48 hours underwent his first surgery at Barrow. Within 72 hrs. he underwent a second operation to correct a complication. Months of chemo, radiation & Optune slowed the cancer, but couldn’t stop it. As symptom progressed, Jay was faced with the prospect of undergoing a 3rd surgery or letting nature take its course. When given this choice, Jay’s response was “I’m not done fighting”. In October of 2019, he had his 3rd surgery and he’s currently recovering. I don’t know what the future holds for Jay, I do know that Jay has attacked cancer just as he has every other obstacle in his life;hard work, determination & unstoppable spirit.