Anyone who knew me before I was 23, knew that my Dad and I had an undeniable bond. I would never admit this to his face, but he was my idol in everything. He was my living example, and I wanted nothing more than to have my life turn out exactly like his.

He would probably never admit this to my face, but he absolutely lived his life 100% in devotion to me (as he did with all his kids).

This past August was the 3rd anniversary of his death from cancer.

There are certain things that I will never forget about my Dad. His laugh was extremely infectious. Whenever something funny would happen, his laugh would let you know it, and chances are you were laughing with him. He had a sense of humor that can only be described as a “pain in the ass”. Ask any one of my best friends who stopped calling my house in high school because they didn’t want to be hassled by my dad on the other line.

He was also one of, if not the, strongest person I’ve ever met. He took care of me by himself for almost 10 years after my mom passed away in a car accident. His wife, his high school sweetheart with a child on the way, was taken from him unexpectedly in the blink of an eye, and he never missed a single step raising me. I was by his side, nearly 24/7 for a decade. I wouldn’t be a fraction of the person I am today without him.

It was around November of 2005, while I was attending graduate school in Syracuse, that I got a call informing me that Dad had cancer. It originated in a cyst on his leg, and spread to his lungs. The Doctors gave him a 15% chance of living.

Throughout the next few months, Dad remained the strongest, and most optimistic person I had ever met. Fighting as hard as he could the entire time, saying, “I need to get better for my family.” Only showing further the kind of man he was.

He lost his battle to cancer on August 22nd, 2006. When the Doctor told me it was a certainty that he was going to pass away in the next few hours, I got a chance to say goodbye in the best way that I could. To which he replied, “Don’t give up on me yet, Joe.” I was there by his side, and held his hand as he passed, just a few hours later.

In memory of Dad, I have joined a team of people to help raise money for cancer research. For those of you that don’t know, November is also “Movember”. A month where people grow mustaches to raise money to fight prostate and testicular cancer. It’s the small first step in all I’d like to do to combat this disease, but for right now it’s something I’m proud to do. Not only because it’s for a good cause, but because in the first picture ever taken of my dad and I, he had a mustache. And I am damn proud to say that my mustache is growing in just like his… my idol.

If you have a few seconds, please take the time to donate to me and my team. Click here, and help us make a difference.

ps. Above is a picture of Dad and I from Halloween, 1989 (I think). It’s one of the pictures I have in my room of the two of us.

pps. What a little jerk I was…