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Holiday Inspiration December 18, 2007

Dad: Born-again Pilot, InspirationDad flies a Zodiac

In the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it is common to lose sight of what’s important. As you elbow your way towards the last Wii on the shelf or shed a tear over your checkbook thanks to all of the holiday cheer you’ve purchased, take a moment and think about the real meaning of the season. As for my family, this Christmas we are finding inspiration and joy in focusing on the positive. And, each day we are learning to realign our priorities by watching my Dad, Max Borner, who is pictured above before take-off on his first flight as a pilot since his early twenties.

In March of this year, Dad was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer. Since that day, my mother, 3 siblings and I, along with countless friends and family members as far away as Switzerland, have all climbed aboard with Dad to take on the insightful journey that is cancer. Our weeks have been filled with fear, anxiety, disappointment and all of the other yucky emotions that you would expect to feel when dealing with a disease of this magnitude.  What we did not realize we would feel in such enormity is the endless hope and pride that pours into our lives each day that we open our eyes.

You see, Dad has redefined fighting cancer. The imagery I associate with that phrase involves him in a boxing ring with a cancerous tumor, throwing all of his energy into knocking that sucker out and focusing on little else until the referree lifts his arms and declares victory. Dad’s reality is a bit different. Sure, he is undergoing the chemo treatments and popping the laundry list of medications prescribed by his team of doctors to beat the disease, but he is combining that regimen with the best self-prescribed treatment available–he is living with cancer. Although Pops has a perfectly valid excuse to lay down and resign to moaning and groaning, he has chosen instead to get out there and do the things that inevitably bring a smile to his face, some of which include; cheering on the grandkids at gymnastics meets and soccer matches, working 40 hour weeks, taking long walks with his dogs, stringing up Christmas lights and giving my Mom a good run for her money as always.

As if he’s not active enough, most recently, Dad decided it was time to renew his pilot’s license. Back in the 60’s, Dad was a pilot with the Swiss Air Force (you know, that intimidating, neutral one) until he made the big leap across the pond to marry my mom. He held fast to his love for planes but time for flying was scarce after he and my mom had the four of us. Years without flying turned into decades and the free feeling of taking flight became a distant memory.  It was a surprise to us all when Dad recently announced that the time had come for him to take to the sky once again. He has flown with an instructor twice over the last month and has said that the years without flying seemed to melt away as soon as he climbed into the cockpit. Each time he describes flying, you can feel the positive effect that it has on him and the hope that it brings him. Dad’s happiness is inspiring and infectious and it spreads throughout my family and beyond, reminding all of us what this crazy journey is about.

So, when the holiday blues threaten to put a damper on your outlook, take a moment to remember what’s important and get out there and do the things that make you happy. Who knows, maybe you’ll inspire someone else to do the same.


15 Responses to “Holiday Inspiration”

  1. ~Me Says:

    Your blog about Dad is just wonderful! What a handsome pilot man 🙂 Dad, you are quite an inspiration to us all!!!

  2. madalyn Says:

    Hi Star… It’s Madalyn at ABC. That was a beautiful, inspiring story about your dad and family… And Star, it was ‘beautifully’ written… You have an awesome gift… Keep at it!

  3. Bill Howdle Says:

    I had to pop in for a visit after the kind invitation you left over on my blog and I am so glad I did.
    The title you gave your post “Holiday Inspiration” is so fitting. Your story is exactly that an inspiration. I am so sorry to hear of you Dad’s health. It is hard to imagine all that he is going through, hard to imagine what you and your family are going through. You will all be in my prayers.
    I so admire you dad, his zest for life. The way he has chosen to live his life in what ever time he has left, he is an inspiration to all. In a very small way I can relate to your dad. My own prognosis is the same as his, but I do not have to battle the pain of cancer, nor the chemo and its side effects. I deal with a bad heart and brain tumor, all of which pales in comparison.
    Please know and please tell your father, if you feel it would be appropriate that he, though your writing has become one of my heroes. He is exemplifying everything I have been trying to encourage on my own blog.
    I thank you for sharing this with me and the world, it is an inspiration.

  4. robin andrea Says:

    I just saw your comment over at “A Piece of Peace” so I thought I’d stop over and wish your dad the very best. Sounds like he has a good team of doctors, the love of his family, and the wide-open sky. A great combination.

    Happy holidays to you and your family.

  5. Jo Hart Says:

    Hi, popped in from Bills website. What a beautifully written post about your dad. There is nothing in the world like a dad, and I share your love and admiration as I too with my dad.
    I send many prayers of love and miracles to your family.

  6. Rachel Says:

    What a great entry to your blog. You brought tears to my eyes but at the same time I was smiling. You really have a way with words – you have since we were little! Love you lots and see you a in few days, Rachel

  7. Carly McKenzie Says:

    The comments about your dad are just amazing, Star. He is truly blessed to have such a wonderful family. Your words brought tears to my eyes–it is refreshing to know that the cancer has not infected his desire to live life to the fullest. Everyone’s days are numbered and his story inspires me to love much, laugh often, and be grateful. All our love, Carly & Jake

  8. Donna Says:

    Star – You’re an excellent writer and an even better daughter. What a beautiful article on your amazing father. Love, Donna

  9. The Stig Says:

    Thanks for leaving a comment at my blog pointing me into this direction.

    I have been fighting cancer for the last six months to quite a successful end. But I have to admit that although I am much younger than your dad I probably have not managed to live with it quite as actively. He earns all of our respect.

    I wish your dad, your family and yourself a merry Christmas and a happy end soon!

  10. Bill Howdle Says:

    I hope you don’t mind but I was so touched by your post, that I made a reference to it in my own today.
    Your post is a Christmas gift and blessing to all
    I thank you.

  11. Mel Says:

    Bravo for the dad who’s living with cancer! Bless his heart for chasing what brings joy to him and the people around him. It’s a sucky battle–but it’s not a ‘life’.

    Holiday greetings to you and your family……
    And thanks to Bill for bringing me here.


  12. Autumn Storm Says:

    Your love and pride shines all through this wonderful post, your father sounds an amazing, loving and inspiring man. Wish him all the best, and you all a happy Christmas.

  13. RubyShooZ Says:

    Thank you for coming and sharing about your dad with us here in this way. It’s so good to know that someone like him is around to show others what we can do with our lives when we make the effort and take the time – no matter what.

    Much peace and love to you and your family and please give your father a hug for me and get one for yourself while you’re at it.

    Peace, love and understanding,

    ~ RubyShooZ ~

  14. ceeque Says:

    what a wonderful and inspiring story … and the same goes for your Dad! If I had half the the fighting zest he shows for life I would feel proud!
    To get back up in the sky must be a huge thing for him, God works in the strangest of ways I reckon..I wish all of you Strength and Love for the future…

  15. nicole Says:

    hey star,
    i’m so happy to hear of how your dad is dealing with cancer – being so positive and proactive. i’ll keep him and your family in my thoughts and prayers.
    and on a totally different note, i’m happy for you starting your own company.
    love from new york,

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