Apr 17

A Community Drawn Together by the Love of a Friend

Tonight I went to Jay B. Sauceda’s benefit for osteosarcoma research. I’ve already touched on the story of how I ran into Jay B. by reading Cesar Torres’s Tweet about his awesome avatar picture. What I have not told you is how I ran into Willie Tichenor.

Willie was Jay B.’s friend from the Iron Spikes student organization at the University of Texas. Even though he was new in the organization that fall semester, Willie was a nice guy, always trying to foster a sense of fun and community among the others. Willie was bald and battling osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, when Jay B. met him. He never seemed to talk about it. He just wanted to have a good time with his new friends.

During the spring, Willie lost his fight against osteosarcoma. The Iron Spikes had no idea he was so sick. Willie probably wanted it that way. After all, he had a much better time just being one of the guys. When the group went to the funeral in Highland Park, they saw an overwhelming crowd of people there to offer their condolences. After talking with others, they realized what an amazing person Willie was. The experience of knowing him helped bring the group together, and many of Willie’s friends were there at the benefit tonight.

So I’ve never met Willie Tichenor. I am sad that his life was taken from him at such a young and exciting age. I do know that his joyful spirit inspired a group of people to connect with each other to raise money and awareness for his cause. I also know that we can have more and more events like this one to foster the sense of community and stewardship he would have wanted.

To make a donation for osteosarcoma research, please contact Jay B.

In memory of Willie Tichenor, a person I have never met.