How it all began

By Jean Gribbon, PhD, RN

The year was 1979 and I had just turned five years old. I loved to visit my friend Miles. He lived on a horse farm and we would have fun exploring the outdoors and watching the horses. After one visit, I was told by my mom that Miles had cancer. I didn’t know what that meant exactly, but I knew that it was something to be worried about. As time passed, I knew that cancer was slowly taking away my friend. With each visit, there was a dramatic decline in his function. We would no longer play outside. I remember how tired he was and within a short period of time, he could no longer sit upright in his bed. He would watch me play on his Atari and although at five years of age there wasn’t a lot I could do, I knew that my visits made him happy. It gave me comfort that he wasn’t alone during a time that was clearly very scary for us both. Within a year, Miles died.

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