Duke, the puppy my mom got when my dad died of cancer, has died of cancer.

Duke, the puppy my mom got when my dad died of cancer, has died of cancer.

If love alone could have kept you here, you would have lived forever.


OCTOBER 10, 2010 – APRIL 26, 2019

Duke was so loved and a huge part of the family. He was diagnosed with Doggy-Cancer, Lymphoma, just days ago. He passed away this morning being held and loved by my mother and brother. They got Duke right after my dad passed away in 2011. He has been a steadfast companion to them both for over 8 years, and I know he’s left a great big hole in their hearts.

How Duke came to be a Ridley

My dad died of lung cancer

My dad was an artist and liked to paint quirky, folksy art. He painted this mural on the side of the shed/workroom when he and my mom bought their home in 2007, to make it look like the outside of a Mexican jail. That’s my dad. 🙂 Sadly, he died of lung cancer in 2011 (while I was going through breast cancer chemotherapy treatments).

Right after he passed my brother took my mom to get a rescue dog to help keep her company, and they adopted Duke right then. They picked this sweet pup in particular because he was all white. My father was known for his bright white head of hair, which had been solid white since he was 16, in the 50s. They named the dog Duke, after my dad, whom my brother’s swarms of theatre friends had affectionately called “Papa Dukes”.

It wasn’t until months later, when the weather was warm again, that they noticed the image of the pup on the side of the shed was an almost perfect rendition of their newest addition, Duke.

Bob's painting and our Duke. Bob painted that in 2007, we didn't rescue Duke until 2011, after Bob passed.

Bob’s painting and our Duke. Bob painted that in 2007, we didn’t rescue Duke until 2011, after Bob passed. The resemblance wasn’t seen till months later.

Whoa! Right?!

It was obviously meant to be, and Duke was a very special part of the family.

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Here are some parting images. #thatunderbite

Lori O’Neil

Lori O’Neil

My neighbor. Stage 4 lung cancer. 6 beautiful children.

Lori Ann O’Neil, 47, of Kill Devil Hills, NC died at her home on Monday, July 24, 2017, of cancer. Born in Louisville, KY, she was the daughter of Linda Elkins Dionisio and Felimon M. Dionisio of Williamsburg, VA. Lori was a member of Holy Redeemer By the Sea Catholic Church.

Along with her parents, Lori is survived by her husband, Jon P. O’Neil; three daughters, Mary Maison, Brigid Ita, and Tara Rose; three sons, Conan Patrick, Brian Dennis, and Kevin Joseph; and a brother, Steven Patrick Dionisio.

Jean Sherwood

Jean Sherwood

Jean Isabel Sherwood of Southern Shores, June 9

Jean Isabel Sherwood of Southern Shores fought a short but brave battle with cancer and passed peacefully in her sleep, surrounded by family Friday, June 9, 2017

A Real Estate Professional for Carolina Designs Realty. She loved spending time with family, dogs (especially collies), jazz, beachcombing and advanced Lego construction.

Noelle Breit

Noelle Breit

Noelle Yan Breit, 10, of Kitty Hawk passed away on Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughter in Norfolk, Virginia. Born on November 9, 2005 in Hunan, China, Noelle was adopted by Barry Andrew Breit and Deborah Lynn Crandell Breit on August 21, 2006 at the age of 9 months.

A Kitty Hawk Elementary School 5th grader, Noelle was very active in a variety of activities. She loved arts and crafts, riding her bike, and singing and dancing when no one was watching. She also played soccer, basketball and softball with Dare County Parks and Rec.

Full obit here

Señor Ramón Sánchez

Señor Ramón Sánchez

Ramón Edmundo Sánchez
Born June 22, 1944, in Managua, Nicaragua
Throat cancer, Lung Cancer. Age 72.

Ramón was a graduate of James Madison High School in Vienna, Virginia. He then went on to further his education at Central American Institute of Business Administration, a branch of Harvard University, receiving masters degrees in both business administration and marketing. Ramón taught Spanish within the Dare County public school system for 25 years and was the owner and operator of the Sánchez Family Rum Distillery and Farms in his home country. A talented concert pianist having performed with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, he was also declared the ping pong champion for Nicaragua and Dare County.

Ramón is survived by his wife of 39 years, Teresitá Sánchez; five children, Michelle Sánchez and partner, Alexis, Ramón Sánchez and wife, Rachel, Andrew Sánchez, Edmundo Sánchez and wife, Evania and Jeanette Sánchez; and five grandchildren, Evaine Claire, Ramón III, Silvia, Ivan and Victoria.

From daughter Michele:
My father, Señor Sánchez “The Best in the World,”was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer about a year ago.  My dad has always been the one everyone goes to whether it would be for advice, help with Spanish, or anything that comes your way. My dad would do anything and everything he could to help his students, friends, family and even strangers.

Many of you know Señor Sánchez, He has been a beloved teacher in Dare County for over 25 years he may have been either your Spanish teacher or your child’s. As he always says “The Best in the World.” 

I still remember having to leave my birth country (because of communistic persecution directed towards our family) where we had an abundance of wealth. My family literally went from having everything to having to leave it all behind and start from scratch in a new place with a different language, my dad was the only one who spoke English.

My Dad became a teacher when a friend told him that with his Masters he could be a teacher as long as he gets his certificate. The next two years my father did not sleep. He would drive to Plymouth and teach, then he would go to Greenville 4 times a week, and when he would return back to the Outer Banks he would go clean St. Andrews by the Sea Church where he was the Janitor. He would get home around 3 in the Morning and do it all over again.

My brothers and I grew up watching my parent’s perseverance, courage and strength. They were always thankful and humble for the opportunity to work. They never asked for help. Even when we didn’t have much my parents still were able to help other family members get on their feet when they came to the Outer Banks, some even lived with us in our small home at the time. My parents were always helping others, I still have memories of them helping the poor and bringing them into their home even when we lived in Nicaragua.

So you see, my parents raised me to be self-sufficient, to be courageous and perseverant. They taught me humbleness and grace, showed me how to love, protect and care for those you love and even those you don’t know. I am a strong person of good morals and character in many aspects of life because of them and everything they went through for my brothers and for each other.

Almost 4 years ago my dad, Señor Sánchez was diagnosed with Throat Cancer. He took the news rather well. His mental perseverance never wavered. Through Chemo and radiation treatments for about a year, dad had a hard time speaking and had to get a feeding tube because the inside of his mouth and throat were burnt from the radiation treatments. He fought hard and caused the Cancer to go into remission, it went a way. Dad would get tested every 3 months to see if the cancer was still gone and for about a year it never showed up.

About a year ago Dad had a really bad cough that just wouldn’t go away, but my dad doesn’t like doctors so it was hard to get him to go. When he finally went, our family doctor told him that he will treat him for the cough but if it doesn’t go away within a week, then my dad would have to go have a cancer screening on his throat and chest. Well the cough did not go away. My dad went to get his screening and about a week later we received devastating news. He has stage four lung cancer. We haven’t even finished paying off the bills from the first cancer and then this is brought before us.

It was a very difficult time for the entire family and this time it hit Dad extremely hard because he had lost his mother at age 16 from lung cancer. He knew what he was about to go through and he knew what his wife and children were about to endure. It shattered him. Yet, my dad took on the treatments the doctors recommended. The treatments completely changed his physical appearance but never took away his Strength to NOT GIVE UP.

About a month ago the doctors informed us that the treatments where not working and that the lung cancer was growing…… Once again another hit to the heart, another hit to our family, to my dad. It was about a week it took to get another game plan, so now dad is going to Duke University to be part of an experimental treatment that has shown major progress and amazing results. We are praying that this program will add some more years to his life. Dad is on Oxygen now and cannot work; he cannot do much, which he hates. He has always been a very active person and not being able to do his normal everyday things is extremely bothersome. .


I’m so sorry to say but Dad has passed. He went peacefully listening to some of his favorite songs with Ramon holding one hand and I holding the other. He will always be remembered and he will always be the Best in the World! I love you Daddy! We will update on funeral arrangements as soon as possible.
Chip Hedenburg

Chip Hedenburg



spiritual gangster

Do not live too far in the past or the future. Live now.

Very happy to be living here at the beach. Thankful for my many friends.

Quit his day job and opened “Shiva’s Drum” yoga and spiritual shop.

Died so quickly. I am so, so sorry Chip. I have been through this, and I should have been more support for you. I couldn’t even bear to see you wither away while I was still living. I am sorry. I think of you often.

Danielle James

Danielle James

High School teacher, wife, mother of four young girls.

We shared a breast-cancer-sisterhood hug just days before she passed away.

She was my neighbor; I used to see her going for walks in our neighborhood. When she was in treatment, she was not walking. She had started walking again after treatment, with more frequency and more strenghth.

We had just commented that she was getting better.

I didn’t know her then. I just knew her as the high school teacher that was fighting cancer. Many of my teacher friends knew her and always spoke extremely highly of her. But I didn’t know her.

Our paths crossed through a mutual friend, very briefly. Just long enough to share the most sincere hug I’ve ever experienced. At the time, I didn’t even realize she was the teacher that I would see walking our neighborhood.

And then 3 days later she put her beautiful daughters on the school bus, returned to her bed, and fell asleep until she no longer felt the pain.

She died on my birthday.

She is sorely missed by the Outer Banks community and Dare County schools.

Her Tribute in the local Outer Banks Voice. 

Magic Mike

Magic Mike

My daughter, Giana, with Magic Mike at a friend's birthday party.

My daughter, Giana, with Magic Mike at a friend’s birthday party.

Longtime OBX entertainer ‘Magic Mike’ Stoffel pictured here with my daughter Giana. He made so many children smile.
Liver Cancer.

After nearly three decades of bringing joy to generations of children on the Outer Banks, “Magic Mike” Stoffel died this morning in his Colington Harbour home after battling liver cancer. He was 62.

Stoffel was best known in the community for his clown performances during birthday parties, fund raisers and other special events. Over the years, he brought smiles to the faces of thousands of local children with his entertaining magic tricks and balloon animal creations.

Read his local obituary at The Outer Banks Voice

The Fruit Salad Guy

The Fruit Salad Guy

There was this kind man who had undergone treatment for cancer at the same oncologist as me. I suppose he noticed that the food that was available for us to snack on during treatments was not at all healthy.  So once he was better and recovered from his treatments, he started preparing a delicious fresh fruit salad, every week, and brought it to the chemo treatment room every Thursday, to share wholesome fruit salad with anyone getting chemo that day. I loved chatting with him and was so comforted to hear of the gratitude he had for the success of his cancer treatments. And then one day, he was gone. I asked the head nurse, and sure enough, he was gone. It came back.

It gets everyone. It got the fruit salad guy. 🙁


April, the Lab Receptionist

April, the Lab Receptionist

Receptionist at my Bloodwork Lab during my treatments.
Ovarian Cancer.

I knew April as the warm and friendly lady at the front desk of the lab where I had my bloodwork drawn for my own cancer treatments. One say, she told me a secret. She was wearing a wig and was also going through chemotherapy and treatment. She told me to keep strong, that it would all work out OK.

We discussed her wig each week, and how much she hated wearing it and couldn’t wait to go without it. I told her to rock her super short hair. Next appointment, there she was grinning. She said it was her first day without the wig. I told her she looked spectacular.

As my own treatments came to a close I would start going to the lab with less frequency. Every week went to every month then once per three months, and then down to only twice a year. I didn’t see April for a while, and then, when I was getting my every 6-month preventative and “maintenance” chemo, I was shocked to see April in one of the chemo chairs. She had a remission and was fighting the good fight again. She looked, understandably, tired. Somehow in my naive mind, I thought she’d pull through.

The next time I went to get blood drawn, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I asked the new front desk lady “Where’s April? She’s ok, right?” and the look I got back was all the answer I needed. I cried in the waiting room. I hate cancer.

From April’s obituary:

April Truitt MacDonald, 63, of Colington Harbour, passed away July 2, 2013 after a long battle with ovarian cancer.

What brought April the most joy was spending time with family and friends; whether here in the local community, down on Ocracoke Island, or anywhere good fellowship and company was to be had. April loved nature, especially bird-watching from her deck or camping with her family. She will be remembered most as a loving wife, dedicated mother, and loyal friend.

See her obituary here.

Markie Cocsa

Markie Cocsa

It is with great sadness to announce that our beloved Markie passed away peacefully yesterday morning. At the time of his passing he was surrounded by his loving family. Our beautiful, perfect boy will always live on in our hearts and we take comfort in knowing Markie is now watching over us from beyond.

Through Markie’s journey your love, support and prayers have been such a comfort to him and our family. Words can never truly express what your kindness has meant to us.

Goodnight Our Hero

To be brave is to cry
But still to fight on,
And that’s what you did
Our hero, our son.

The battle was hard
We thought we had won,
But still you fought on
Our hero, our son.

The happiness you brought
To the lives you have touched,
Will live on forever
As you are loved so much.

when we close our eyes we can see you,
When we whisper your name we can hear you,
And when we reach with our hearts we can touch you.

Goodnight our hero, our son, our Markie,
You are just a child
But you have died a man.

Markie Cosca Jr. Tribute Video 1

Markie Cosca Jr. Tribute Video 2

Markie Cosca Jr. Tribute Video 3

Without a doubt – the most difficult tribute I’ve ever made. He was so, so pure and full of love and light. I am honored to have met him. And sometimes feel guilty – how did I make it through, and he did not, when he had SO MUCH MORE to give. It is just not fair. 

Alex Lassiter

Alex Lassiter


October 2, 1989 - March 12, 2013

Alex was a sage and thoughtful person, wise beyond his years. Artistic in nature, his life on the Outer Banks was reflected in his music, surfing and most of all his painting.

Alexander A. “Alex” Lassiter, born October 2, 1989, was an Outer Banks native and graduate of First Flight High School.

On March 12, 2013 Al succumbed to a rare form of cancer after a long and courageous fight.

Saying Goodbye

A memorial paddle out is the way the surfing community says good bye to fellow surfers that have passed. Eric Gardner and Alex Lassiter were two local surfers, both passed earlier this year. It was chosen to wait till this date, giving the water time to warm and favorable conditions. It was perfect.

you taught me to live and love freely and I am forever grateful. time goes quickly but the heartache never gets easier. miss you Al 💕
– Chandler

Sometimes in my tears I drown, but I never let it get me down.
So when negativity surrounds, I know some day it’ll all turn around.

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Sarah Elizabeth Lindsey Gupta

Sarah Elizabeth Lindsey Gupta

OCTOBER 27, 1980 – NOVEMBER 6, 2011

In January 2010, Sarah began having mysterious medical problems that were diagnosed in April of that same year as Stage IV Adrenal Cortical Carcinoma. She underwent a seven-hour surgery at Duke Medical Center and returned to teaching with six weeks, determined to beat the odds of this dreadful terminal cancer. There were no chemotherapy drugs known to be effective, yet she approached her challenge with such a positive attitude and a decision to research all her options, and did all in her power to think “outside the box.” Her desire to return to teaching – the desire of her heart – helped her keep up the fight against cancer. Unfortunately, none of the clinical trial drugs proved effective against this aggressive and rare form of cancer and Sarah Lindsey Gupta left this world on November 6, 2011. Her beauty, positive attitude and grace in the midst of trials, taught everyone she touched both how to live and how to die.

See the tribute website for Sarah.

My Dad

My Dad

Bob Ridley. My Dad.

December 27, 1937 - February 13, 2011

My daddy died tonight. At home, surrounded by love. He’s really missed.

Bob Ridley. My Dad. Lung Cancer.


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7 years later


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Elizabeth Edwards

Elizabeth Edwards

Elizabeth Edwards died of Breast Cancer this morning at her home in North Carolina.

The sad and untimely passing of Elizabeth Edwards was the top story online when I first sat down to research my new diagnosis. She was diagnosed with Stage 2 Breast Cancer just 6 years ago. 

Six years is simply not enough time for me. Giana will be 9, Travis 13, and Christopher only 22. No way will my work be done yet!

Edwards, 61, Was First Diagnosed With Breast Cancer in 2004.

Yesterday, media reported that her condition had worsened and that she had posted a message on her Facebook page that included these lines:

“I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces — my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope. These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined. The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that.”

Edwards, estranged from former Senator and presidential candidate John Edwards, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. She spoke with WebMD about her breast cancer in May 2009.

Edwards’ Breast Cancer Story

Edwards first noticed a lump in her breast in late October 2004 while showering in a Wisconsin hotel, on the road in support of her husband, John Edwards, in his vice presidential campaign.

That lump turned out to be stage II breast cancer, which was diagnosed in November 2004, the day after the general election.

Edwards got treated for her breast cancer in 2004-2005. First came chemotherapy to shrink the size of the tumor, followed by a lumpectomy (surgery to remove the tumor while saving as much of the breast as possible) and radiation therapy.

In March 2007, Edwards hurt a rib, and after getting an X-ray and other scans she learned that her breast cancer was back as stage IV breast cancer, the most advanced stage of the disease.

Edwards’ breast cancer was in her bones, and perhaps also in her lungs and liver, though that wasn’t certain at the time. In May 2009, Edwards told WebMD that the spot in the liver was “fairly inconsequential” and the spots in the lungs “turned out to be nothing.”

Still, Edwards wrote in her 2009 memoir, Resilience, that her cancer “wasn’t leaving. Not ever.”

When cancer spreads to the bone, it’s generally considered incurable but may be treatable.

When she talked to WebMD in 2009, Edwards said that to treat her stage IV breast cancer, she took a chemotherapy drug at home, another cancer drug intravenously every two weeks, and a third drug that helps protect the bones when cancer has spread to the bones.

Even so, Edwards didn’t shy away from the fact that she could die of her cancer. And she voiced regret about not getting routine screening mammograms as often as recommended.

“I didn’t get screened the way I should have,” Edwards told WebMD in 2009. “As a result, I found out later than I could have” about the original cancer, Edwards added that not getting screened “does not change the reality. It only changes your options,” as early diagnosis can make a difference in treatment.

But throughout her treatment, Edwards emphasized her life, not her risk of death.

She was passionate about her children and health care reform, and she said she didn’t fear dying after living through the death of her first child, Wade, in a car accident in 1996, when Wade was 16.

Edwards is survived by her husband, John, her daughters, Cate and Emma Claire, and her son, Jack.

Cathey Clawson

Cathey Clawson

Cathey’s loving parents.

Catherine “Cathey” Grey Carrington Clawson, 48, died Thursday, June 17, 2010, at her home in Manteo only six months after the discovery of a primary brain tumor. Mary Blanch and Boyce Harwell’s daughter. Such good people.

Cathey was born July 7, 1961 in Chapel Hill to the late Dr. Samuel M. Carrington Jr. and to Mary Blanche Meekins Harwell. She lived and attended schools in Chapel Hill, Paris, Boulder, Houston, Manteo, Chattanooga and Rock Hill, graduating from Rock Hill High School in 1979. She earned a BA in clarinet performance from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1983 where she performed in the New Music Ensemble and was principal clarinetist in the Wind Ensemble and the University Symphony Orchestra.

Cathey lived a life filled with music, including performances with numerous groups in Cincinnati, the Community Symphony Orchestra in Charlotte, numerous wedding performances on the Outer Banks, and her favorite, the Roanoke Island Trio, with Sue Waters, violin/viola, and Lee Kearney, piano. She maintained a music studio which grew to 45 students, teaching clarinet, saxophone and piano. Cathey’s most recent employment was in human resources for the National Park Service Outer Banks Group which she called “her NPS family.” She loved working there and believed in their mission.

Cathey was a loving person that always thought of others first and herself last. She was an avid reader, devoted mother, skier, camper, traveler, and hiker. She hiked in Switzerland, the Great Smokey Mountains NP, Grand Canyon NP, Rocky Mountain NP, Red River Gorge, the Napali Coast of Kauai, the Maroon Bells NF, El Dorado NF and Mount Tallac, Klamath NF, Big Sur, Muir Woods NM, Point Reyes NS, Sunset Crater Volcano NM, Wupatki NM, Yellowstone NP, Grand Teton NP, and Glacier NP.

Cathey is survived by her husband, David Clawson; three sons, Zachary, Grey and Gage; her mother, Mary Blanche Harwell; her stepfather and second father Boyce Harwell. The family gives special thanks to the loving caregivers who made it possible for Cathey to remain in her home.

Averi Valdivieso

Averi Valdivieso

A sweet child. Only 16 years here on earth. I never met her. Her mother graciously and selflessly worked reiki miracles on me during my treatment.

From her mother’s facebook wall on the 5th anniversary of her passing:

6 years ago I had to tell my first born good-bye as she transitioned. When I look back on the night, I remember it as a magical night. Ethan and I had walked the labyrinth in the yard and the moon and stars were glowing so beautifully. It filled me with a hope that I never lost. Later that evening, it began to rain. A soft, quiet rain. A weeping of what lay ahead later that day. Ever since Averi has left us physically, I have never believed that she left me spiritually. She always finds wonderful ways for me to know she is always near. On this day, she has never disappointed me. I woke this morning to take in the glorious sunrise to remind me of her and her new life filled with light like the sun. Hannah & I had kayaked yesterday in the hopes of seeing a dolphin and didn’t see one. I told Hannah that Averi would not disappoint us tomorrow & that we would see Manatee also. We headed out this morning. My heart was set on Averi and what she was going to share with us. We came to the opening into the gulf & saw nothing, but we sat there in anticipation. Sure enough, a lone dolphin popped out of the ocean. We paddled around with it & were then delighted to the sight of a group of manatee. When we headed back into the canal, the dolphin was there and swam around us in our kayaks for the whole at least half hour we delighted in it. When we finally headed back to our place, it still stayed there. Thank you Averi for always showing me that you are near me even though I can no longer see you & touch you. It gives this grieving heart a smile to the emptiness that it can no longer physically know. I will look for your continued presence throughout this day. I miss you like crazy Averi Maylen!!!

Art Thibodeau

Art Thibodeau

Art Thibodeau

March 10, 1948 – October 14, 2008

Captain Art Thibodeau
Carolina Designs

Captain of Carolina Designs, one of my first and largest clients.

  • Father & Husband
  • Businessman
  • Genius
  • Private Plane Pilot


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Mr. Jim Tate

Mr. Jim Tate

The incredible sand sculptor of Duck. Loving husband of Ms. Lori Tate.


Taylor Harrison

Taylor Harrison

OBX Boat Builder. Cancer.
Founding force behind the Carolina Boat Builder’s Association
A wonderful boat builder, an advocate for continual education in the boat building community, and a friend to everyone.

From his daughter Mallory:
Perhaps the biggest way he taught me to find joy was after he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. I was eighteen and had just left college to help him. Everything around me was crashing down. It was a nightmare. I went to church with him one day and couldn’t believe what I saw. He was smiling and singing as if nothing were wrong. I asked him how he managed to do that. He said it was simple; he had accepted his fate and was going to make the best of the time God was giving him here on Earth. And he did- he was happy during his last months alive. We smiled more than ever. Instead of hiding in bed like I wanted to, Dad forced me to find the joy during my hardest days.

See Taylor’s tribute on the Carolina Boat Builder’s Association website.

From the Carolina Boat Builder’s Association website:
It all started back in 2003 when the community learned that a good friend and colleague on the Outer Banks faced a very serious illness. Taylor Harrison, a talented and respected boatbuilder, was losing his battle with cancer and members of the Dare County sportfishing family were devastated.

Soon after Harrison’s death, friends John Bayliss and Mike Merritt discussed how they could help Harrison’s two teenage children, Mallory and Alex, with their educational expenses. Merritt suggested starting a scholarship fund that was funded by an offshore fishing tournament featuring boats built in Dare County.

Thanks to these efforts, the short-term goal of raising money to cover Mallory and Alex Harrison’s educational expenses had been achieved, and both children have successfully furthered their education.

After several successful tournaments, it was apparent that the efforts of our annual fundraiser needed to expand. In 2007, the Dare County Boat Builders Foundation formed in the spirit of helping families like the Taylors and beyond. Each year, the foundation will award financial aide and assistance to those who apply and qualify.

Doris Claire Ridley Bergas

Doris Claire Ridley Bergas

My Aunt Doris, my Dad’s sister. She is on the left. All three of my grandmother’s children (pictured, my father in the middle) have died of cancer.

BIRTH 15 FEB 1935 • New York City, New York
DEATH 11 NOV 1984 • Dunstable, Massachusetts

Mother of Joel and Mikey, wife of Pete Bergas.


Bob Marley

Bob Marley

Bob Marley died of cancer.

Bob Marley | Natural Mystic
6 February 1945 – 11 May 1981


Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley died on 11 May 1981 at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Miami (now University of Miami Hospital), aged 36. The spread of melanoma to his lungs and brain caused his death. His final words to his son Ziggy were “Money can’t buy life.”
In July 1977, Marley was found to have a type of malignant melanoma under the nail of a toe. Contrary to urban legend, this lesion was not primarily caused by an injury during a football match that year, but was instead a symptom of the already-existing cancer. Marley turned down his doctors’ advice to have his toe amputated (which would have hindered his performing career), citing his religious beliefs, and instead the nail and nail bed were removed and a skin graft taken from his thigh to cover the area.

Despite his illness, he continued touring and was in the process of scheduling a world tour in 1980. The album Uprising was released in May 1980. The band completed a major tour of Europe, where it played its biggest concert to 100,000 people in Milan. After the tour Marley went to America, where he performed two shows at Madison Square Garden in New York City as part of the Uprising Tour. Marley’s last concert occurred at the Stanley Theater (now called The Benedum Center For The Performing Arts) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on 23 September 1980.

Just two days earlier he had collapsed during a jogging tour in Central Park and was brought to hospital where he learned that the cancer had spread to his brain. Shortly afterwards, Marley’s health deteriorated as the cancer had spread throughout his body. The rest of the tour was cancelled and Marley sought treatment at the Bavarian clinic of Josef Issels, where he received an alternative cancer treatment called Issels treatment partly based on avoidance of certain foods, drinks, and other substances.

After fighting the cancer without success for eight months Marley boarded a plane for his home in Jamaica. While Marley was flying home from Germany to Jamaica, his vital functions worsened. After landing in Miami, Florida, he was taken to the hospital for immediate medical attention. Marley died on 11 May 1981 at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Miami (now University of Miami Hospital), aged 36. The spread of melanoma to his lungs and brain caused his death. His final words to his son Ziggy were “Money can’t buy life.”

Marley received a state funeral in Jamaica on 21 May 1981, which combined elements of Ethiopian Orthodoxy and Rastafari tradition. He was buried in a chapel near his birthplace with his guitar. Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga delivered the final funeral eulogy to Marley, declaring: “His voice was an omnipresent cry in our electronic world. His sharp features, majestic looks, and prancing style a vivid etching on the landscape of our minds. Bob Marley was never seen. He was an experience which left an indelible imprint with each encounter. Such a man cannot be erased from the mind. He is part of the collective consciousness of the nation.”

sources listed here

Doris Claire Ridley Bergas

Joan Ridley Wasmuth

My Aunt Joan, my Dad’s sister. She is on the right.  All three of my grandmother’s children (pictured, my father in the middle) have died of cancer.

Aunt Joan was my cousin Mary Susan’s mom.
(Mary Susan if you are reading this please contact me! I have been looking for you for years!)