February 24, 2011

Memorial for Cancer Victim Tim Adams Will Aid Local Charity

A former Memphis resident's battle with cancer combined with his family's ties to a local landmark will combine to offer a unique opportunity for a Scotland County charity.

A commissioned drawing of the Depot Museum, part of the Downing House complex in Memphis has been donated in memory of Timothy J. Adams to the upcoming benefit auction to be held March 5th in Memphis for the Scotland County Cancer Fund.

"The girls and I want to do something in Tim's memory," said his wife Jan (Hale) Adams. "He loved trains. His parents, John and Maxine Adams, were involved in moving the depot to where it is now, so we had an artist draw this picture of the depot. We know all proceeds from it will stay local, which is what we want."

Tim grew up in Memphis as did his wife Jan. He served in the United States Air Force, a career that took him to Arkansas where he and his family remained in the Little Rock area following his retirement.

In September 2009 Tim Adams was diagnosed with Advanced Stage IV Kidney Cancer. He passed away on June 28, 2010.

It was the second time in less than a year that the family was stricken by the disease.

In December of 2008, the couple's oldest daughter, Alisha, was diagnosed with a rare type of thyroid cancer called Hurthle Cell Carcinoma. The tumor, her thyroid, and five of her parathyroids were removed.

"Alisha's ordeal has been lengthy," said Jan. "She is cancer free but next February she will go through radiation again."

The family has learned how to fight the fight over the past two years.

Tim made 101 visits to the doctor, spending 37 days in the hospital. During that time he received 23 units of blood, while undergoing chemo, radiation, and liver embolization. Tim had a pacemaker implant followed by a second surgery to move the device to a new location inside his body due to the side effects of the radiation treatment.

The nine-months of treatment also involved five bronchoscope procedures to shave the tumor that penetrated his trachea. This was all topped with medications too numerous to even mention.

"At one point, Tim was receiving chemo and Alisha was doing radiation," Jan said. "To top that off, our youngest daughter, Melissa, who lives in Indiana delivered a set of twin girls. Tim fought and never gave up hope. His body just couldn't keep up the battle."

While his body lost the battle with the disease, his family hopes his memory will help other cancer victims be victorious.

"On the day of Tim's last surgery, I finished the book The Shack," Jan said. "The doctor came out and said there was minimal growth, but he didn't think we had a month. It ended up only being six days."

Jan pointed to the peace the book gave her, particularly the saying from chapter 15 by Frederick Buechner - "You can kiss your family and friends goodbye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you".

Part of that world that lives in the family is Tim's connection to the Depot. By commissioning the Arkansas artist to draw the artwork for the fundraiser, Jan and the girls are hoping the piece will be a blessing for other cancer victims.

"Through all of this it was hard to be thankful," Jan said. "But I was thankful that we lived close to a leading hospital for cancer and its research [University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute]. My traveling and lodging expenses during his treatment were minimal compared to people having to travel longer distances for their treatment. Growing up in Memphis, I know there is a medical facility available, but when cancer is involved you need to be at an institute that deals with it daily."

That is just one of the many ways the Scotland County Cancer Fund helps local victims, and one way Tim Adams' memory will do the same.

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