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Keeping the Faith




Submitted by:
Katie Merritt

I met John in 2018 right as he was starting to experience his first symptoms. He had run his first ultra marathon and was having a difficult time recovering. Shortly after, he began having focal aware seizures. His primary care doctor believed them to be silent migraines. The seizures became more frequent and John went from being a man who could get up at 4 a.m., meditate, do yoga, and then fish all day to a man who sometimes couldn’t even get out of bed. Knowing there was something more serious, his family, friends, and I pushed him to see a neurologist. In September of 2019, we learned that he had a brain tumor. Surgery in October revealed it to be a grade 2 Astrocytoma. While the surgery was successful, the entire tumor could not be removed and he followed it with 6 weeks of radiation and is now in month 4 of a 6-month chemo treatment. During this time he has exuded positivity and continues to give this fight everything that he has. The days when he feels the worst are the days that I watch him work his best magic. You would be hard pressed to find a day where he doesn’t have a smile on his face. He is the type of guy who engages people and makes them feel important, encourages them when they are down, offers his support and means it. People love him because of how genuine he is. In the midst of all of his health issues (and in the middle of a yoga class), John and I became engaged. We married in January 2020 and blended our families to become a family of seven (he likes to joke that he has to be strong with five teenagers, three dogs, four cats, and a new wife in the middle of a pandemic). This isn’t just his battle, we are all fighting with him. In spite of everything we have gone through and are currently going through, as HARD as this is for all of us, I can’t imagine how awful it would be if I had never met this amazing man. People say this all of the time, but knowing John Merritt has made me a better person.