ToquiNotes: Perspective Lessons, Being an Example Gives Timmy Wilson's Life Definitive TKO vs. Cancer

By Jeff Toquinto on January 13, 2018 from ToquiNotes via Connect-Bridgeport.com

It was back several months ago and I was shopping, rather wandering, at Meadowbrook Mall as my wife was inside of JCPenneys. As I was trying to take up time, I heard a group of youngsters in front of me laughing and having a good time.
 
When I looked up, one of the individuals was Bridgeport’s Timmy Wilson. It wasn’t too long after I had talked to him in March of this past year for a follow-up story I was doing on him. This was on the heels of an August 2016 story on the youngster.
 
In fact, the 2012 BHS graduate had just earned his Exercise Physiology degree from West Virginia University back around the time of the first. On top of that, he was recently accepted into Palmer Chiropractic School in Daytona, Florida.
 
Wilson never had a chance to finish out his dream of becoming a chiropractor. It had nothing to do with his grades, a change in plans or wanting to live of the lamb. Wilson’s plans were changed by cancer.
 
In June of 2016, Timmy Wilson was diagnosed with medulloblastoma. It’s a brain tumor that is located on the brain stem. His father Craig told me only 2 percent of those diagnosed with this type of cancer are over the age of 18.
 
I was thinking quickly about all of that as I saw Timmy. I thought about approaching to formally introduce myself and quickly thought to leave him alone. At the time, a long battle with the disease had recently saw Timmy get the upper hand with good news from the doctors treating him at Duke University Medical Center and the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center. He had appeared to have beaten back the disease.
 
I figured it would be best to let him not, even for a second, be reminded about what he had to endure by meeting the guy who had talked to him in detail about everything he endured. Part of me had regret when I learned Tuesday morning Timmy Wilson had passed away. I was then reminded by a friend as I shared with her my regrets that my last memory was of him happy and with his friends. That’s solace for me. Remembering his megawatt smile and the good times is something I imagine Timmy would want you to recall when thinking about him.
 
I imagine, rather I know, his family is in a difficult place right now. The days leading up to Sunday's viewing and Monday's funeral service are days no one ever dreamed of and they are days where I know the entire community will embrace the family with a blanket of compassion and love.
 
Even though the family had learned in December that the cancer had returned and the decision was made to end treatments, there is no shield to block the emotional schrapnal from learning your child, your brother, your nephew, your relative, your friend has passed away way too young.
 
It’s never easy. And what makes this situation worse is that not only was Timmy Wilson by every single account and my limited interaction with him a wonderful young man, but his family from top to bottom are the type of people you want in your life. For those not knowing Timmy Wilson’s family, let me describe them to you in as succinct a manner as possible: Good to the core.
 
The family kept the entire community up to date on Timmy’s journey on his Facebook Page “Prayers for Timmy Wilson.” News of new posts for many were often met with anxiety as to what it was – good news, bad news or even just a few snapshots of Timmy doing what he did best and that was making the most of his life and making those around him smile.
 
It was on that very page where I first learned of this young man. It was where I learned of his battle. It was where I learned of his recovery. And it was where I learned of his relapse and passing.
 
His father Craig, who I’ve known since I was in high school and whose mother’s house we practically lived in at Lake Floyd as teenagers, would keep me in the loop via messenger off of the page. I can’t imagine how difficult it had to be to type words he would send to me or the words that were typed to share some of the heartbreaking messages. Part of me simply doesn’t want to imagine what was going through his mind or anyone in the family.
 
Despite the situation, Craig Wilson took the time Thursday to send me a message to get out to the community. 
 
"Thank you for all (the community has) helped us with over the last year and a half. The outpouring of love over the last few weeks has been overwhelming," Wilson wrote.
 
If you know the Wilson family, taking the time to say "thank you" at arguably the worst moment in many of their lives, you're not surprised. A bad situation won't change who they are.
 
Yet in the cloud of grief that hangs, there are still things to know. Whether it was on the soccer fields at BHS, painting murals in the school, hanging with his sister or spending time with Tyler Karcher and those he loved, his life mattered. It mattered because he loved and was loved back.
 
It’s hard to say cancer beat Timmy Wilson or took his life. Saying cancer beat him sounds as if he gave in and there was nothing gained from what he went though or the life he lived. Nothing could be further from the truth. At worst, anyone that knew Timmy Wilson gained perspective and saw how to live.
 
That, perhaps, is the most important thing to know when Timmy Wilson stared down cancer. It never took his life. Timmy Wilson never let cancer stop him from living.
 
Outside of my relationship with his family and that one phone call where we talked for quite a while, my encounters with Timmy Wilson were brief at best. Yet he did something that few people have done for me and he did it for anyone who watched him fight. He provided an example of how to live. Perhaps we should all remember that.
 
Rest in Peace young man.
 
Editor's Note: Craig Wilson has asked that in lieu of flowers, please bring donations to the viewing or funeral service for the Adult Bone Marrow Clinic at Duke. We will be making a donation in Timmy’s name. You can also make a donation by clicking HERE. Top photo shows Timmy Wilson prior to his diagnosis, while the second photo shows Timmy in July of 2016 after surgery with, from left, his father Craig, his boyfriend Tyler Karcher, Chandler Strogen and his sister Caitlin Wilson. Bottom photo shows Timmy in December of 2016 after blood work and finishing up chemotherapy. 


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