Daniel Purdy just celebrated his 28th birthday and the birth of his only child, Eliza, when he was diagnosed with stage 4 Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. He was at work when his vertebrae fractured and over the course of 2 weeks we came to know that he had metastatic, incurable cancer and we were told we would be lucky if he was still alive in 15 months. He had a mutation, EGFR+, most often found in Asian Women.
Dan fought hard for over 2 years. As excruciatingly painful as it was for us to witness Dan’s health and mobility get worse and worse, I can only imagine what it was like for him. He didn’t talk much about dying, he didn’t want to accept it. He was one of the most alive people I know. Dan lived life with gusto, like he knew his was going to be short. He never stayed home when he could go out, he never walked when he could run, and he didn’t take no for an answer. He was witty, hilarious, vibrant and a complete pain in the ass, and we loved him for it.
At Dan’s wake, many of his friends told stories about the things Dan DID. The night he put a couch on the lawn to watch the stars, the time he played bocce ball in the middle of the night down a city street, or when he went skiing a month before he died with fractured bones. Dan would always do it. And thus, the phrase DAN WOULD DO IT was born.
We started a scholarship in Dan’s memory. The scholarship goes to a Pawling High School runner who is going to attend college. Dan would be proud.