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Andrea Hempstead

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Run For Grandpa, Run For Papa, Run For Christopher Hempstead

When I think of grandpa, all of these wonderful moments I experienced with him come to mind. He was such a simple person yet so wise and experienced. He was so in tune with the natural world-he saw beauty in things we normally pass by without blinking. I remember my granny trying really hard to get rid of the bats in the house and my grandpa strongly suggested we build them bat houses right in front of the house...(It was a riot).

He was the type of person who could never say no to someone or something in need. Every time I brought home a stray, I would march right over to grandpa (who would then send me to granny for permission so it essentially backfired) and ask him if we could take care of it. He would always say yes but "ask your grandma, because I don't want to get in trouble (not to mention he was so madly in love with her that whatever she said, usually went)."

I remember having my wisdom teeth removed and grandpa coming into my room every so often to check on me. He would sit at the edge of my bed and say, "How are you feeling Andreita?" to which I would respond "It hurts so bad grandpa, can you come check on me again in five minutes?" (Okay, so I milked it...but if you knew my grandpa you would have done anything to have just a second longer with him).

He was also the classiest man I have ever met, he changed outfits FOUR times per day...He had his breakfast outfit, his work clothes, his dinner outfit and finally his sleeping outfit. And although he had wayy too many women fawning over him, he was a total MANS MAN. I mean he was the MAN of MEN...He loved getting dirty, using his tools, fishing, flying, drinking scotch & rum, if it's manly he probably liked to do it. At the same time, he was the most gentle giant who walked this earth.

I remember he took me fishing and I caught a barracuda with his very expensive fishing rod...I was so excited, I was dancing around pulling him in while grandpa was saying you "gotta let him tire out, let him go then pull him back in." Yeah, that didn't happen. In my excitement I pretended not to hear him and proceeded to pull him in..His very expensive rod broke in half and the fish was sitting at the bottom of the sea with half a rod sticking out of him. What did grandpa say? "Those are strong fish..that rod was probably not good anyway." Any other man would have thrown me off the boat..hell, I would have thrown me off the boat. Not grandpa..He took me home.

Losing grandpa to lung cancer is probably the hardest blow our family will ever experience. The words and memories I have mentioned don't come close to describing just how amazing my grandpa was. Words literally do not suffice. Never had I seen sadness in grandpa before this fucking cancer. He gave so damn much to his family, his friends and even to strangers. I firmly believe that if we continue to support lung cancer research efforts, we will one day have a cure and we will never again lose another person to this awful cancer. If you can't donate, please spread the word!!

This run is for all of those who have lost someone to lung cancer, to all those who are currently battling lung cancer, and for the survivors who beat the odds...But mostly, it's for grandpa so please give what you can in his honor.
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