"Although Brian Patrick Parker lost his gallant fight against leukemia, the courage revealed in his sixteen month illness will live forever in the hearts of his family and friends.
On March 13, 1979, it was determined that Brain had leukemia, and within twelve hours he was admitted to the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, where he spent the next three weeks undergoing tests and treatment to combat the disease. For seven months following Brian's return from Ann Arbor, the disease that had become his adversary remained in remission. During this time, Brian was able to participate in football and wrestling, two sports which he deeply loved.
In November 1979, Brian was back in the hospital, but by January 1980, his leukemia was again in a state of remission. At this time Brian's doctors ordered a bone marrow transplant, with Brian's brother, Rich, as the donor. The Parkers traveled to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Institute in Seattle, Washington, and the transplant took place on February 13, and was deemed successful until mid-May, when once again Brian's relentless enemy revealed itself. In late June, Brian was hospitalized at St. Joseph's Hospital in South Bend, and at 7:55AM on July 1, 1980, Brian's long struggle had ended. Dreaded leukemia took its victim, and Brian finally found peace.
Throughout his illness, fourteen-year-old Brian demonstrated the courage and strength of a man. His love for his family and his determination to survive are two qualities that will always be associated with his memory.
Throughout his life, Brian gave his all in the activities that he relished - golf, wrestling, motorcycling, football, hunting, swimming, basketball, baseball, water skiing, and fishing. He gave of himself, too, in many ways and he taught all who knew him a lesson in giving that cannot be forgotten.
Brian lived a life full of love and laughter. Both came easy to Brian; he was a wonderful person to spend time with. During his illness, Brian relied on his sense of humor and his ability to love and be loved. He was always concerned about his family and friends and wanted to be sure that they would be able to accept his death. Brian made jokes about losing his hair as a result of the chemotherapy treatments, and he pulled pranks on some of his favorite nurses.
Brian's fight was long and difficult, but he fought until the very end. After his death, Brian's parents remarked, "He never gave up; he just made us so proud of him!"
Although Brian was here only a brief time, the gift of his inspirational and giving spirit lives on." -Excerpt from NHS Tattler 1983
The inspiration that was and is Brian Parker survives today as The Brian Parker Memorial Foundation.
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