Orillia’s Ray

Every so often I get these guilt feelings for spending money on trips and other things, because I feel I should be socking it away for retirement. Plan ahead, they say, and I’m not always very good at it. I want to live now, before arthritis comes back, or something worse says hello. It’s a big reason why we’re driving, once again, to California and Vegas soon, and why I’ve gotten carried away a couple of times at Classic Collectibles Auctions.

It’s also why we’re spending big bucks, and we don’t have many, to see the Habs in Vancouver next Saturday. “Do it while we can, within reason” is the motto.

But because of these guilt feelings, I sometimes need inspiration from others to remind me that it”s not a bad thing to think this way.

I’ve never really known Ray Ryan. He’s a couple of years younger than me, but I would see him playing goal in peewee or bantam, usually before our game began. He was a good goalie too, and at one point was offered a tryout with the Niagara Falls Flyers. His Orillia Junior B team went to to the All-Ontario where they met a Peterborough team in the semi-finals with future NHLers Jimmy Jones and Habs’ Bob Gainey in the lineup, and although Orillia would lose in the 7th game against this powerful team, it’s a magnificent accomplishment to say the least.

From all accounts, Ray is an excellent fellow, a really good guy. Like I say, I only remember him from years ago, this chubby kid stopping pucks in winter and hitting baseballs in summer, but I know he has always been an Orillian, a hard worker, and a mover and shaker in the community. Just a fine upstanding citizen.

Now Ray’s just been told he has pancreatic cancer and has three months to live.

And if you’re thinking you can’t afford that cruise or trip to the West Coast because you’re saving for old age, this is what Ray told the Orillia Packet and Times. “People should do what they want – not put it off. We almost didn’t go (to Panama last November), we almost decided to wait until April. I’m so glad we didn’t.”

There was one other thing Ray told the Packet. “I’ve played a lot of sports in my life and I’ve always loved that I had a chance to win. I decided not to take chemo or any other treatment because there’s no chance to win. The best you could hope for is losing in overtime… That’s not for me.”

I want to say good luck to you, Ray. I’ve seen people beat cancer before, and you can too.

7 thoughts on “Orillia’s Ray”

  1. I know this is a cliche but life is short and sometimes we spend too much time worrying about useless things. I know there are things in my life that I passed on that I now seriously regret. I sometimes have more regret than positive memories and want to kick myself in the ass for not doing what I wanted to do.

    I know I am going to make sure I do some of those things because I don’t want to go up to the big Forum in the sky full of regret.

    I feel really bad for this guy. My dad got liver cancer and was told he had only a few months to live. He ended up living three years. What ended up killing him was chemo. He had one single treatment and they gave him an overdose. It scorched his mouth and made him so sick he was out of it for almost a week. He went to take a shower and a huge chunk of his hair came out in one moment. It did him in emotionally and spiritually I think. He then gave it up, went back home to Gaspe, and died about a month later.

    My girlfriend’s dad was almost killed by too much chemo as well. He did eventually die anyways, but he could have died a year earlier becuase of that stuff. It’s scary.

    Cancer is a rotten awful disease.

  2. Hey Dennis, I’m sorry to here of Ray’s illness,cancer is a terrible thing,I lost both my parents to it and my older brother and sister have battled it and won,I only wish Ray could do the same.Ray is correct though,do it now cause you aren’t garunteed a full life later on.Take advantage of your health and well being while it is possible to do so.

  3. Derry, good for your brother and sister, but I’m very sorry about your folks. I lost my mom to this disease and it’s a terrible thing.

  4. Dennis, you and I have talked about doing things in the now. We burned the candle at both ends when we were young and they are some of my fondest memories. We had no choice but to live in the moment. …..You have visited Russia what, 6 or 7 times? If you had waited until you retire would you have experienced it under soviet rule? ….Ray is right……. I also respect his decision not to under go the dreaded treatment. I’m sure he has heard a million stories about people who have beaten cancer. Perhaps he is a million to one shot or worse. What ever the case he has summed it up very eloquently and honestly and shown true character. I will remember him for that.

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