Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Tribute to Dad

Today is my Dad's birthday. He would have been 81 years old today, but he died in 1983 at the young age of 56. He had Hemophilia, a bleeders disease, and died during the AIDS crisis due to tainted blood products (his medication). He was the oldest living Hemophiliac in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

He was a kind, gentle spirit, and his faith kept him going. Even though he suffered with constant pain, I remember him whistling, humming and singing.

Here he is in his studio. He was a commercial artist.

In 1969 my two brothers and my sister and I had a bake sale on Main Street of our small town to help my Dad with medical bills.

The bake sale

His debt was mounting and he owed 220 pints of blood or $5,500. He was going to the hospital at least twice a week for clotting factor.

On July 14, 1973 our town rallied round and held a day in his honor. Our church had a chicken barbeque, a food and bake sale, and a garage sale, also donations ~ monetary or blood donors. The generosity and support was overwhelming! The donations of food, money and saleable goods far exceeded expectations. It was a miracle, and enough money was raised to help defray his medical expenses, and 45 people signed up to be blood donors. "The Lord works in marvelous ways" the newspaper quoted, and my Dad said, "We just can't believe it."

Our daughter, Amy, works for the National Hemophilia Foundation in NYC. She feels blessed to have gotten the job working in the Education Department. She said she works hard for her grandfather every day. She set up a wonderful website for him and you can see it here

In October, we are having a walk-a-thon fund raiser in North Carolina hosted by the National Hemophilia Foundation.

Our family is very excited to be able to do this together.

So, if you happen to be in NC on October 18, 2008 come join our team!

This will be a walk to remember.

Happy Birthday, Dad!


Beverly said...

Donna, thank you for sharing your father with us. My father died when he was 55.

I loved reading the story of the love you all had for your father, and the way the community rallied to help.

He must have been so proud of each of you. I think he somehow knows that you are keeping his spirit alive.

BailiwickDesigns said...

My father was a commercial artist too, in Los Angeles, who would have been 81 last January. He passed away 5 years ago of cancer. But he lives on through his art and the memories we have - our fathers will always be with us! ::Jill

Ruth Welter said...

Hi Donna, this post definatly left me misty eyed. This was a lovely tribute to your Dad and for public awareness of this disease.

Best of luck with you walk a thon coming up...Kudos also to the wonderful work your daughter does.

linda said...

Your father sounds like he was a wonderful man...and your community proved it by their generosity. I'm so happy you shared this tender story today. Happy Birthday to your Dad!

It's wonderful that you and your family are keeping him memory alive by the education and support you are lending to the hemophiliac foundation/community. You truly are to be commended.

Jan said...

This gave me goosebumps Donna. What a wonderful tribute to such a loving man.

I am just sure he is so proud of you in spreading the awareness. He was surrounded in time of need and support, because he was probably the type of man that did the same.

Wonderful people in the world. Way to go on the walk. I am moved. Take care and Happy Birthday to your Daddy.

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

My father died too young too and it's hardly a day that goes by that I don't think of him. I love the photo of the bake sale you kids had. And it's wonderful that you will be participating in the walk and raising awareness of this disease.

Pat said...

Donna, this was a wonderful tribute to your Dad! You look a lot like him.

One of my daughter's friends works for the Hemophilia Foundation in NYC --Dorothy --I wonder if you daughter would know her?

What a wonderful way to remember your Dad wirh a walk in his honor!

Hugs, Pat

Kathleen Grace said...

What a legacy of love your father left behind! To have a family so devoted to him and with such loving memories speaks volumes about what kind of man he must have been:>)

Catherine Holman said...

What a great heartwarming tribute to your dad! It sounds like he was a very special person.

Happy @ Home said...

Hi Donna,
What a lovely tribute to your dear Dad. I am sorry you lost him so early. He sounds like a wonderful man.

It was so touching to read how your church and community rallied to help.

I think it is really special that your daughter & family are keeping his memory alive and raising awareness for this disease.


Sheila said...

This is a loving tribute to your Dad, Donna. You look like him.
He must have been so proud of his children and the support you gave him. His artistic talent lives on in you.

Donna said...

Awwwww.How Wonderful!! Happy birthday to your Dad!!!hughugs

Rhondi said...

Hi Donna
What a wonderful story about your dad and how the community supported you. My dad died young too, 59 . He has been gone for 27 years and thee are times when Istill miss him. Tahnks for sharing the story.
Hugs, Rhondi

Meggie said...

Did you grow up in Lancaster? Not far from me in Pgh. Thanks for sharing the loving story of your father with us. Isn't it amazing how much we still miss our deceased parents. What a wonderful tribute to participate in such a fundraiser.

Firefly Hill said...


What a beautiful tribute to your father! I am so sorry that you lost him at such a young age. It is wonderful that your daughter is working to educate others about this disease...


KarenHarveyCox said...

Donna, what a wonderful tribute. I think it is so beautiful how your entire family have always supported him. What a beautiful thing to continue to honor him by all of your involvement with the Hemophilia Society. He must be smiling down from heaven. Karen

Abby Creek Art said...

What a beautiful post, Donna. Sounds like your dad was an amazing person to face life with such a devastating illness with humor and grace.

Wish I could walk with you...but my feet will be there in spirit! said...

Hey Donna,

How great to read of Daddy's tribute. Love you - Darlene

Mary said...

What a lovely tribute to your dad! He must have been a wonderful father, and I guess that is where you got your talent. :)

Mary said...

Oh, Donna. Lovely tribute for your Dad. Now I know where yout artsy genes came from...

He is proud of you, right now.


Suzanne said...

How wonderful that your family will be able to participate in the walk-a-thon together! And for a wonderful cause too. What a nice tribute to your Dad.

Sunnispace said...

Hi Mom - I'm FINALLY getting around to reading this! What a loser I am - I haven't been on my blog in weeks, but I had a moment and had to check this one! Love it and I will certainly link to it when I get around to posting again. Love you - see you this weekend!