#FarrisStory: "Gordon is the first and only survivor of this cancer"

"Recently on the way out of town for an emergency mission trip, I stopped into Colorado Springs to adjust the radiator blocker on my truck because the temps were getting near zero and without them there would be very little heat in the cab.

I looked for an interesting place to take a break and make the adjustment. In my notes from a friend in Colorado Springs was the name of Gordon's Cigar shop. I decided that would be a great diversion and so I made the short side trip off the interstate and drooped into Gordon's. It was fairly easy to find and I had the radiator shields adjusted in moments. Now to investigate Gordon's.

As I walked in I was greeted by several customers and Gordon's assistant. I looked over the stock in the glass cases, and was informed that there was a special going on on Blue Mountain Cigars. I had never heard of them and the price point was above my pay grade, so I looked around to try and find the illusive last 2 Las Caliveras I needed for the ship's memorial. No they did not have them, so I asked for a few other rare birds that friends were looking for and no success. I was just getting ready to go back to my truck and roll on down the highway when Gordon Rolled into the room. He was an older gentleman a bit portly, but understandable since he was a single amputee in a wheelchair.

I told him that Muddy77 had said his shop was really great and I was dropping by on my way through town. We conversed about Muddy for a few moments and then I asked Gordon what put him in the wheelchair. It was a story that miracle movies were made of. He had contracted a rare 100% deadly form of cancer. He was just getting ready to move to Costa Rica at the time and had all his life savings on the line to purchase a nice cafe/bar on Santa Elena island. If I have that spelled right it is on the west coast of Costa Rica and has incredible sword fish and tuna fishing right off shore.

His attorneys had all the paperwork in order and all Gordon had to do was fly down and sign the papers and lay out the cash when life struck. He had to go to the doctors for a lump growing on his right leg and when the doctors got the reports back they told him he had 1 month to live. No one had ever survived this form of Cancer. They sent Gordon to surgery, and the doctors removed the lump. A Few days later he was back in surgery getting a bad infection cut out, and a few days later he was sent home to die.

He sold his house and gave away his car, and all his belongings. He was supposed to die just after Christmas that year. His doctors and health care assistants called a specialist and the specialist said that the surgery to try and save his life would be 1 million dollars cash. Gordon did not have this, he had six hundred thousand cash though, but the doctor turned his nose up to Gordon and told him to go away and die.

For the next several weeks his doctor and health care assistants kept calling doctors begging for them to save Gordon and finally found a doctor that agreed to 600 grand. They rushed Gordon into surgery. He had been being kept on high levels of Morphine for the pain and when the surgeries were over, Gordon woke up and looked under the sheets at his legs and noticed that not only was his right leg gone, so was his right hip, and several ribs. They had taken off almost a third of Gordon's body. Gordon told me he was not upset because he realized he was still alive. Personally I am not sure if I would have had the same attitude.

Good news was they had gotten all the cancer and it never hit his lungs so Gordon is the first and only survivor of this cancer. Bad news was when it was time to send him home, he had no home, no car no stuff because he had sold it all.

The rest of the story is one of courage and perseverance, but he went 11 months without a wheelchair because the government did not think he needed it. Duh he had only one leg...sheesh. Gordon struggled bravely and started working since he was flat broke. He got a job at a friend's cigar shop. He worked there and saved all his money and in a few months struck out on his own by opening a small place on the local Army base with only 1,200 dollars of inventory. After a few months the powers that be changed rules and what small profits he was making were getting swallowed by new rules. Gordon saw a space in a local shopping center become available and had the money for first and last rent and so struck out in town to see what he could do since the Army base was strangling his profits.

He bought furniture and televisions from Craig's list and opened his own shop and cigar lounge. He is making the bills but not profiting much yet. The big thing is he has something to do, and hopes that he will be able to pick up enough business from the younger men from the base like Muddy77 to make a living. He is living off of a terribly small disability check, but surviving.

The reason I am writing this is because this man's story is an incredible testimony to the spirit of not giving up. I am a disaster relief worker, and Captain of a Rescue Vessel and director of the Winterhawke Foundation which comprised of 2 divisions keeps me busy and broke most of the time. Gordon's story inspired me not to give up when I am down to my last dime and have no idea where the next penny will come from. It has gotten hard the past few years and I, like Gordon, liquidated everything I had to keep my 3 orphans homes open in India after the tsunami of 2004 and the Haiti Earthquakes of 2008. I struggle daily and if it were not for my all volunteer crews I would be sitting frustrated in Denver with no hope of restarting. Gordon's story is one of a man who did not give up and deserves our accolades because he did not lie at home on disability, but decided to push on and do the impossible and go back to work and build his own shop." - Crickett from Colorado Springs, CO