View Full Version : Wow, Wow, Wow! Let's hear it for Pat West!

01-01-2010, 12:27 PM
This story in the Spokesman-Review touched me so much!
Homeless man treated to game (http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2010/jan/01/homeless-man-treated-to-game/)
Donor gives shelters Gonzaga basketball tickets
Mike Prager The Spokesman-Review

Tom Willette, a homeless man staying at House of Charity, got a big gift for New Year’s.

Willette, who is recovering from cancer at the downtown Spokane shelter, had a front-row seat at the Gonzaga-Oklahoma basketball game in the Spokane Arena on Thursday night.

“It makes me feel pretty good they thought enough of me to ask me,” he said before the game. “I was pretty surprised.”

His seat came courtesy of Spokane resident Pat West, who helped organize Thursday’s annual game that doubles as a fundraiser for Ronald McDonald Charities of Spokane.It's a subscription story for subscribers to the Spokesman, and I haven't yet read the whole story, but I have a deeply personal connection to the West family's story, and tears still come to my eyes when I remember ...

The day my son came home from Wilson School, where he attended class with a wonderful boy named Chris West, and announced, "Chris West died." I remember the moment so vividly ... standing at the kitchen cutting board, fixing dinner, and tears began streaming down my cheeks as I tried to hide how deeply sad I was ... I didn't want to upset my son, as I felt he didn't yet understand the finality of what he'd said and what it meant.

Chris West was a golden boy. He was a beautiful, tall kid, probably the best athlete in that class at Wilson. I remember my son coming home from the first day of class earlier that year and announcing to me, "Chris West came to school and he has no hair, and he has a scar from here to here." I felt a chill, as it seemed clear to me what that meant.

Chris West ... such a special boy... Not only had my son looked up to Chris because he was one of the smartest kids in his class and one of the best athletes, but he was such a kind and generous kid, one of those boys who is kind to everyone in the class, even kids that weren't as gifted as him.

I watched anxiously as the year progressed, and I remember seeing him with his parents at PTA events, and I remember him saying to his mother, "Thanks for coming, Mom!" (He was that kind of kid!) and his mother replied, "I wouldn't miss it, Chris!"

I'm going from memory here, but my recollection is that Chris died of Hodgkins Lymphoma, which I believe has become a very treatable form of cancer, unlinke Nonhodgkins Lymphoma, which I belive is more resistant to treatment.

In any event, I've thought so often of Chris ... as my sons graduated from high school, as my oldest son had his children ... And this past Christmas, my oldest son, who had come home from school that day so long ago with the news that Chris had died, sent the West family a Christmas card to say that his own son would be finishing fourth grade this year, the same year Chris had died, and he wanted them to know that he still thought of Chris, and what a fine kid Chris had been, how kind Chris had been to him, what a role model he had been.

So, thanks, Pat and Carol, not only for your generosity in giving us the chance to have known Chris, but for your continued good work in honoring him, and in giving a homeless man a special night in the Spokane Arena with the Zag community!

01-01-2010, 02:45 PM
Awesome stuff!

01-01-2010, 05:01 PM
I was moved by your story, thanks for sharing it. After the generosity to get the man into the game I'm glad the Zags gave him an uplifting win.

01-01-2010, 05:06 PM
Wow. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.

A person can never have enough feel good moments and this was a good one!

01-01-2010, 05:36 PM
An all-time great post from ZN. Thanks for sharing!

01-01-2010, 05:59 PM
Thank you, ZagNative.