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Greg Peck: Considering cancer and ALS

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Greg Peck
August 29, 2014

Kathryn Marchant's funeral was today. She died of cancer Aug. 20 at age 86, and one of her six children told me at Thursday's visitation that her mother was among the first people served in the residential wing of Janesville's new Agrace Hospice facility.

I knew Kathryn from St. John Vianney Church but more so through our parish's service at the former Roosevelt School Breakfast Club. I also got to know her husband, Jim, through serving kids breakfast. Jim was like a Pied Piper. Children lined up for chances to play him one-on-one in a little hand-held game he'd bring along to Roosevelt. Sadly, Jim also died of cancer a few years ago. If you looked up the word “grandparents” in the dictionary, you could almost expect to find Jim and Kathryn Marchant pictured there. They were two of the nicest, sweetest people I've ever met.

Another person from our church's breakfast club group has been battling cancer, as well. My wife and I have two more Janesville friends undergoing cancer treatment. One of my high school classmates and good friends is in a cancer fight for his life. I even know of a little girl in our neighborhood who has been battling cancer.

Cancer snuffed out the lives of some of my aunts and uncles too early.

I've been keeping all these people in my prayers. I think about them, too, as I see the tens of millions of dollars that the “Ice Bucket Challenge” has raised to find a cure for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. That progressive neurodegenerative disease is a terrible way to die.

I give those fighting ALS all the credit in the world for devising a clever way to raise so much money so quickly through use of social media. I hope researchers use the money wisely and indeed find a cure.

Given all those I know who are battling cancer, I only wish researchers striving for cures had access to money from a similar fundraiser.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.



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