Re­lay for Life vol­un­teer re­mem­bers father as she or­ga­nizes an­nual event

“He taught me how to be pos­i­tive” — Michelle Small

Nor'wester (Springdale) - - FRONT PAGE - BY CORY HUR­LEY

BAIE VERTE, NL —Michelle Small’s bed­side photo of her father serves as a daily re­minder of the man who meant so much to her.

Ross Wells died two years ago — a few years after a colon cancer di­ag­no­sis shocked the Wild Cove fam­ily.

“It was Dec. 18, 2012, and I will never forget that day,” Small told The Nor’Wester.

Al­ways close to her father, it was through his bat­tle with cancer and ul­ti­mately los­ing that fight she says she learned just how spe­cial a man he was.

Small took time from her ca­reer to be­come her father’s care­giver. She was by his side through ra­di­a­tion treat­ments and chemo­ther­apy, trav­el­ling to St. John’s, re­call­ing how he en­joyed his Mary Brown’s lunches and Tim Hor­tons treats as much as she re­mem­bers the agony of those treat­ments.

Through it all – even dur­ing these most dif­fi­cult of times – her father taught her a lot from his at­ti­tude and per­spec­tive.

He was 70 years old, but age doesn’t soften the shock of a cancer di­ag­no­sis, ac­cord­ing to Small. While she cried pro­fusely, she said she never saw her father shed a tear over the fate he was dealt.

“He just said it is a part of life and there is noth­ing you can do about it,” she said. “He was 100 per cent pos­i­tive right through the whole two years that he did treat­ments. He taught me how to be pos­i­tive. He was the most pos­i­tive, al­most su­per­hu­man, type per­son that I have ever known in my life.”

Even after his treat­ments ended and he was given three months to live, Small said her father did noth­ing but think of oth­ers dur­ing his fi­nal three weeks in the world. He died in his own bed March 15, 2015.

Small re­mem­bers how great the doc­tors and nurses at the Baie Verte Penin­sula Health Cen­tre were in help­ing pro­vide care for her father, mak­ing it as easy as pos­si­ble to pro­vide endof-life care to him while he was at home.

These days, Small serves on a com­mit­tee for the an­nual Re­lay for Life event in Baie Verte. She has done so for three years now and re­mem­bers fondly the times she par­tic­i­pated in the event as a team mem­ber years ago.

As she vol­un­teers for the event, and on the day of the re­lay, her father is on her mind first and fore­most, she said.

“It is hard,” she said. “I talk about it, but when I talk about it, I re­live the whole thing.

“I have his pic­ture on my bed­side ta­ble, and I look at him ev­ery sin­gle day. I have all good mem­o­ries of him.”

Small is just one of the peo­ple who helps make so many great mem­o­ries for so many peo­ple at the Re­lay for Life event in Baie Verte. Her father had a lot to do with why she can do that.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Michelle Small, right, re­mem­bers her father Ross Wells, pic­tured with her mother Vi­vian, as she helps or­ga­nize the an­nual Re­lay for Life in Baie Verte.

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