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Day 19: Rest day in Casper, wY: On Josh Wesner, hospice, and this bike ride

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There’s a connection between the Josh Wesner Memorial Scholarship and St. Luke’s Hospice, the two causes I'm supporting.

When I knew Josh, he lived intensely and wholeheartedly, as if every moment counted. This was true when he first walked into my freshman biology class with the help of a cane and a slight speech abnormality, both from a car accident, and it remained true until he eventually succumbed to Hodgkin's lymphoma. What I found and still find inspiring about Josh is that he lived joyfully and fully In the face of what seemed to be terrible circumstances. I imagine he thought, “There is something great about being alive, and I am not going to miss it.” And indeed he did not.

Hospice patients and their families often resemble Josh in this way. Most of us would consider their circumstances to be among the most difficult we face: their lives or the lives of loved ones will probably soon end. But like Josh, they live joyfully. “There is something great about being alive, and I am not going to miss it.” A hospice patient I have been visiting and who has been bed-bound for months is a joy to be around. He is always fully present, is often self-deprecatingly funny, laughs and smiles a lot, and expresses love easily and often, as do his wife and family. Their lives are admirable and enviable exactly as they are.

I think Josh Wesner and hospice patients and their families are models for how to live, and I take inspiration from their courage and their love of life.