Relay for Life volunteer remembers father as she organizes annual event
“He taught me how to be positive” — Michelle Small
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.
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.