Saturday, May 19, 2012

The End of the Good Fight

Nine days ago we wrote of a young man growing up in the same part of the world in which we grew up many years ago. Gary Lukasiewicz – a senior at Riverside High School in Taylor, PA, and a former goaltender for the Wilkes-Barre (PA) Jr. Penguins – was fighting his second battle against cancer. First diagnosed with sarcoma before starting his junior year, he won that battle, but the cancer returned leaving him in hospice just a month before his graduation and a week before his prom.

Well, sometimes miracles do happen. Last night Gary made an appearance at Riverside’s prom to the surprise and delight of his classmates, friends, and teachers. Twitter lit up again (as if it had really cooled off in the midst of Riverside’s #keepfightinggary effort) with messages about his being able to attend his prom and being selected prom king.

But not all battles are won. This morning, Gary passed away. I never knew the young man, but having grown up in the same part of the world, I know the kind of people up there who surrounded him with their love and support. There are no finer people anywhere, and Gary seemed to represent all that is good and strong about them.

His was a remarkable story, and he was a remarkable young man to have inspired such support and dedication from so many in the Northeastern Pennsylvania community. May he rest in peace, and may his family and friends be comforted in the knowledge that he had such loving people in his corner.