I was hired with Lamont County Emergency Services Oct 17/2017 as a firefighter and am currently a Captain and District/Regional training officer.
Because a prevalent occupational hazard of the firefighter’s job is cancer. Wellspring is proud to support those living with cancer including brave members of our firefighting community. Wellspring also offers these same programs to ALL people living with cancer in the community.
2021 will be the third time I have participated in the Calgary Firefighter Stair Climb. This has been a very difficult time for most people. For people with cancer, I am sure you can imagine how exceptionally difficult it must have been for them and their loved ones.
Traditionally I climb and dedicate each step and each dollar raised to my Husband Dave Hosack and his friend Rick Cholak.
I wish I had a year that I did not have any one else to add to my “why I climb” list, unfortunately that did not happen this year. This year I am adding Len Hodgson and Pat Tarrant.
Every year I climb I do it for my husband Dave Hosack, who has bravely fought prostate cancer not once, but twice. It seems like every year I write this I have to change it to his changing conditions. He takes it all on like its no big dea and carries on with what ever life has to throw at him. He really is my hero and I love him with all my heart. Dave completed very aggressive radical treatment, all while going to work and maintaining relationships with family and friendships every single day. He's a hard worker and some days I wonder how on earth he does it! He also does all of this without complaining even once!! (Except his hot flashes from his treatment... and look out when he is on fire ;). Dave has done a crazy job at kicking cancers butt and has many more years to spend his time doing the things he loves. He has a love for life like no other and will often be found boating, fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, quading, dancing and singing (far too early in the morning!), walking our dogs. Spending time with his grandchildren Aron, Olivia, Jase, Blake and Oletta, his children Amanda, Liz and Deanna, and many family and friends. That is important to him and hes not afraid to tell anyone who is important to him "I love you". I am so proud of Dave and love him with every inch of my heart.
Once again I climbing again for the third year, for our dearly departed friend who we met at Island Lake, Rick Cholak. Rick fought like no other person I have ever met in my life. He was literally the toughest man I have ever known. Rick did countless treatments to fight for his life and never once would you hear him complain or have people feel sorry for him...probably due to the fact he was incredibly strong willed. Rick was also one of the hardest working men on the planet! He put his heart and soul into "Dewar Western" right up to the very end. Sadly, Rick passed away Sept 19, 2018. His wife Terry is a good friend of mine and her strength has been inspiring. They were soul mates from a young age (I think Terry was 16). Clearly, they had a love like no other. I know she misses her lifelong love very very much, as does his son Justin and his wife wife Erin, Ricks daughter Melissa, 3 grandchildren Sonny, Vienna and Rickson. Ricks family, extended family, friends and coworkers would do anything to see him or hear his voice again.
My Daughters Liz and Deanna lost their Grandpa to cancer this year. Len Hodgson was married to my ex-mother in law Diann. Len and Diann met later in life, but some things are worth the wait. Len was the love of Diann’s life. He was extremely well known in the community and has been described as “a rock solid guy”, or “a true gentleman”. He had a love for his farm and all the animals he kept. Sheep, horses, goats, chickens and dogs. Even in uncertain times like wildfires threatening his home, he stood his ground to protect his farm. Len was tough…real tough. He left his mark as a part of the Alberta Trail Riders Association Cancer rides. (My husband Dave knew Len before we even met because off these rides. Such a small world). Len held 25 years of these rides at his own farm, many he led as trail boss. On June 6, 2020 Len and Diann were married in a small and intimate wedding with their closest family and friends to witness the love they had for each other. Looking at their wedding photos I see how much love Len had when he looked at Diann. Diagnosed with Colon and liver cancer Sept 2018, Len knew life was worth fighting with all his might. Like a true cowboy, He worked on his farm through all his treatment and never missed a beat. Fighting cancer through covid did not make it any easier. Len was loved by so many friends and family. He was a father of 3, step-father of 3, 13 grandchildren, 5 great-granchildren an uncle and a brother. I know he definitely left a warm spot in my daughters hearts and they miss him very much. Len lost his battle with cancer on January 23/2021.
I met Pat Tarrant at Island Lake. Pat was my brother and sister in-laws best friend. Pat and Tom were two peas in a pod. Both of them were what I consider “masters of Slalom water skiing”. They set up a water ski course tucked away in a little corner on the lake. Countless hours were spent early in the morning perfecting each run. Rarely was a course bottle missed and when I watched, I was in awe. Truly an impressive sight to see . Pat taught his boys Thomas and Justin to ski the same course and pulled his daughter Lindsey on a tube (that was more her style). This past summer his family bought Pat's favourite boat that he regrettably sold in 2012. This boat was his baby, a Malibu bought in 1998. What are the chances they found it for sale a week after his passing? This is a treasure that will be kept forever I’m sure. I can imagine when they go for a ride and feel the wind in their hair, they feel him sitting in the boat beaming right beside them. Pat and his friends often took out all their instruments and Jammed for hours (Pat played the guitar). People would come just to watch and enjoy frindship and the music. I still think it’s crazy that one person would just start to play a random song and the rest just joined in on cue…how on earth can a person know that many songs just by listening? Pat and his love Verena, bought a place at the lake up on the hill. Together they loved to spend their weekends relaxing, often finding various projects to complete making it home. After many radical aggressive treatments, On July 31, 2020 Pat lost his battle with Prostate, Colon and liver cancer. I know that after Pat passed, he left a massive hole in the hearts of his family and friends. Pat was such an encouraging guy; I know he would encourage me to push to get to the top of those stairs. He will be on my mind.
Wellspring Calgary provides a mile-long list of programs and resources to support patients and their families that are affected by cancer. These programs/resources help them get through their cancer treatment before, during and after treatment in attempt to improve qulity of life. All at no cost to them.