A Tribute to Kevin Edward Boitson

Kevin and Brenda Boitson

Kevin Edward Boitson had an amazing spirit and the ability to make everyone around him laugh, smile, and be jolly. He was the quintessential Canadian: full of happiness and jokes, and he loved a great beer. Kevin loved to workout at the gym, read, play guitar, and he especially loved the ocean. Every chance he got, he would read a book on surf fishing, or head to Cabela's to look at all the latest fishing gear. We spent countless hours sitting in our lawn chairs, gazing out upon the Atlantic Ocean off of Assateague Island, waiting for the fishing pole to jerk, hoping for that big catch. It would sometimes take Kevin an hour just to get his line in the water, putting together the perfect rig for the potential "great catch." One time, that great catch was a 4' bull shark that caused crowds to form around us when he pulled it to shore. Fishing was one of his true loves, besides me.

Kevin was diagnosed after a lengthy hospital stay with angiosarcoma, a form of cancer that attacks the blood vessels, in early August 2008. He went through a radical surgery to divert his esophagus out of his neck because the cancer attacked his esophagus, stomach, and liver. There was never found to be a direct cause of the cancer, and angiosarcoma only affects 1% of all people with sarcoma. Due to the aggressiveness of the disease, there are few treatment options, and resection surgery is usually not an option because it takes a long time for patients to be diagnosed, leaving most patients in the latter stages of the disease. Kevin went through a type of chemotherapy called Taxol under the direction of the staff at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Lancaster General Hospital, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Kevin sporting his home country's maple leaf

I recently went to visit my father in the Lancaster hospital on the same floor where Kevin spent many days. One nurse heard my name, and instantly recognized it, and had heard the story of Kevin and I and our time at Lancaster General Hospital. She informed us that the staff still talks about us and the incredible journey we faced. She said Kevin made a deep impact on the staff with his strength and motivation to beat the disease. The entire journey of Kevin's illness is documented at theboitsons.info.

Unfortunately, Kevin passed from the complications of angiosarcoma at the age of 36, on October 28, 2008. This past year, my family and I organized a Team Sarcoma event: a "Keepin' it Kevin Bike/Walk/Run," where we raised nearly $5,000 towards sarcoma cancer research in his honor. His mother and brother still reside in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where Kevin was born and raised and hope to do a dual event with us in the future. I have also been writing about the journey since Kevin's passing.

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