Eugene Cho

“innerview” – 20th anniversary of brain tumor

Couple weeks ago, I shared the story of Chad who was celebrating 20 years of life after being diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of 12.  This past weekend, we had a chance to “innerview” him and shared the video below at the Quest Church services.

As a pastor, I know I’m not supposed to have “favorites” but there’s something about Chad that just encourages my soul.  If you have six minutes, check out his story.  While it’s unique, it’s really like all of our stories…our need for community and Christ.

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Please take a few moments to read this story of hope, courage, and faith – not lived in isolation but in community.  Chad was diagnosed with brain tumor 20 years ago.  His future was uncertain but 20 years later, he has been a source of great courage, inspiration, and blessing to so many.

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I first “met” Chad over email.  He randomly emailed me years ago.  He introduced himself, shared he might be moving to Seattle from Chicago, and offered his friendship and prayers.  I thought he was weird until I finally met him and realized that his correspondence was genuine.  He is one amazing guy. I later met his fiancee and eventually had the privilege of flying out to Iowa to officiate their wedding.  Yes, some pastors have all the luck.

This month, Chad celebrated the 20th year anniversary of his brain tumor diagnosis that has forever changed his life.  He was twelve then and doctors were unsure what the future would hold for him.  But over the last 20 years, Chad has lived to bless so many people.  Last night, I had the privilege of joining a “celebration of life” with Chad and his wife, Melinda, their family, and a bunch of folks in the church community group.  With permission, I am sharing a gliimpse of his story as shared by his wife, Melinda and his family.  

Twenty years ago this month, Chad was diagnosed with the brain tumor that has changed our lives forever.   Your prayers through the years have sustained and strengthened each of us.  We have learned so much about God’s love through your friendship and acts of presence and love.  We have learned new ways to trust.   We know that God’s promises are true.  We thank you for your part in our lives, in the story of our faith.

 

God has answered many prayers along the way.  Chad completed high school.  The whole family went with him on his Make A Wish trip to France and visited old friends.  He went to college in Canada and in Chicago.  We all spent almost a year in Spain as he tried a form of acupuncture.  He earned a Masters’ in Family and Marriage Counseling with a Medical Crisis specialty in Seattle.  He got married to a wonderful woman named Melinda in August 2003, in Iowa.  They have lived in Seattle ever since.  Melinda has been a huge gift and support to Chad and a great gift to all the rest of us.  Chad has an interesting job.  As of September 2007 he has been working in the Bilingual Orientation Campus for junior high and high school students who’ve moved to Seattle from 40 different countries, and are learning to fit into the US school system.  He knows what it’s like to be different, to learn a new language and culture, and to stand out visually.

 

We continue to pray for physical healing for Chad, but we’re thankful for the ways God is using him in our lives to be a blessing.  People around the world have prayed for him.  What a strength that connection is!  What a common thread and connection prayer is!  We are so thankful!  And we continue to pray for Chad, as we pray for so many others who enter our lives.  The surrounding culture celebrates strength, independent action, beauty and ability; we have learned from Chad’s example to live with our weakness and God’s strength.  Chad has lived it before us.  He still sleeps with a machine to help him breathe, though the technology has improved and the machine is small and light.  He has a forearm brace named “Silver” for walks and a motorized cart for longer distances.  He still speaks softly, has some trouble swallowing, can’t feel the edges of his skin (like the bottoms of his feet, for instance), and has learned to live with spasms in the optic nerve that leave him in a fog, unable to see.  He is still stubborn and has a disarming, quirky sense of humor.  He is very human.

 

Please celebrate with us God’s gift of Chad’s presence.  His surgery was on April 28th, 1988.

Filed under: family

20 Responses

  1. Danny says:

    This is a beautiful story. I don’t know Chad personally but one of my dear friends was diagnosed with a brain tumor several years ago. I was so moved by her strength and hope. Reading this story reminds me of the power of hope, faith, and love.

    Congratulations Chad!

  2. chad says:

    Hey Chad! Congratulations on the milestone! I remember you quite well, you were so friendly and welcoming. You were one of the first people to make me feel welcome at Quest and I am so happy to have known you.
    Keep up the good fight man,
    -(the other) chad

  3. sam says:

    Chad is my friend! God bless Chad!

  4. Wow, it’s been 20 years? Way to go, Chad.

    If this is the same Chad I’m thinking of, I remember him from North Park. Good guy.

    (I’m assuming that it is because how many Chads would I know that had a brain tumor, went to college in Chicago, now lives in Seattle, and works in a program that I first heard about through my friend Darrell last year?)

  5. Jeff Lam says:

    chad’s been a source of encouragement & hope for my family and i, and i appreciate how he uses his story to bless others everyday.

  6. Wayne Park says:

    ditto on (the other) chad…
    you were kind, welcoming and embracing to us… when we first came out to Quest. I’d give my right arm for a few folks like u w/us up north.

  7. cho mama says:

    we are so thankful and proud of you!!!

  8. Eric Rager says:

    Praise God for His mercies and also for all the Glory He receives from the trials in our lives which He allows.

    I enjoyed the story, Chad. My son Matthew is about 10 months since his BT dx and we pray for the same future years for Him but must trust in God for His will since it is surely more wise than ours.

    May you and your family be blessed.

  9. georgesong says:

    i heart team cha-linda! 🙂

  10. Barbara says:

    Chad, you are a blessing to all of us. Your kindness and sensitivity in conversations during the merger and transition meant so much to all of us. Thanks to both you and Melinda for your loving presence at Quest.

  11. Your presence lights up a room. Your warmth is felt past the window sills. Your smiles makes me smile. 20 years. they go fast, eh? Be well, (loved) Kay

  12. brandonsneed says:

    Good story.

  13. CPT Tobin Dale says:

    Chad,
    Greetings from Fort Hood, Texas. You and your wife are an inspiration to those around you and those afar. I will see you this fall.

  14. Mleinda (wife of chad) says:

    Thank you, Eugene for sharing this. And thanks to all the people who send words of encouragement. We are so dependant on community and appreciate the people of Quest, our family, small group and other friends around the world who are praying for us and support us. May God continue to amaze us.

  15. Judy Anderson says:

    Yes, it’s true.
    We still pray for complete physical healing, as it tells us to do in the Bible. But God’s peace has been a huge part of this process, and the spirit of Love Jesus promised is true, true, true. The process of living is in the daily choices we make. Chad, you’ve helped us live life one day at the time, and enjoy it! We thank God for you, for Melinda, and for the community at Quest. Thanks, Eugene, for sharing the journey with us all!

  16. John Scott says:

    That’s amazing! Thanks for sharing.

  17. Ben says:

    You are the MAN Chad. 🙂 Thx for sharing

  18. aaron says:

    Thanks to Chad for sharing his story. I often notice how people who have encountered such difficult circumstances have gained a lot of wisdom and peace through their experience. I keep thinking about how Chad said he often does not want to be noticed, but I encourage him that his story is powerful and that others have so much to learn from him…. Your story is a blessing!!

  19. Jim and Kathie Liljemark says:

    This was forwarded by Bev and we so appreciated your story. What a reminder of your faith and walk with with Christ. We have sent the link to our children Heidi (in New Zealand) and Brady (in Chile).

  20. Tracy L. Hoctor says:

    This is such a heart warming story. Cody is blessed by God’s hand and I fully understand what his family has and is going through. I have a nephew (will be 12 in September) that has been dealing with brain tumors since he was 6. He has had 6 surgeries and currently looking at surgery #7. Cody has a growth on the stem of the brain that was dormant for almost 5 years. Though Cody has had to learn to ready and write numerous times he has never given up hope. My sister is blessed to live in Kremmling Colorado where the school system is wonderful. Cody is still attending school with the same classmates that he started with. Cody you are an inspiration to us all. God bless you.

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Sadly, I have witnessed this reality in too many places. ​In 2012, I traveled to a remote area in Eastern Kenya as part of a @onedayswages response to a famine that struck the Horn of Africa region. This famine impacted nearly 13 million people and according to some sources, took the lives of about 250,000 people. During my trip there, I had the chance of meeting many people but the person that still remains in my memory was a Muslim woman named Sahara.

She was so hospitable in inviting us to her small and temporary home. During our conversation, I learned that ​Sahara traveled 300 kilometers (a little under 200 miles) – some by cart and some by foot – as they sought to escape the worst drought that has impacted East Africa (Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia) in the past 60 years.

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She traveled about 200 miles on cart and foot. ​And all along, she was ill. If you look closely ​at the photo, you might notice the large lump in her throat - likely a large cancerous tumor.​ She did not travel alone. She traveled with her husband who I was not able to meet because he was staying with one of his five other wives in this polygamist community.  She did not travel alone. She also traveled with her six children – the youngest being about 1 and the oldest being around 8. She had just given birth to her sixth child when they began her journey. Her youngest was severely malnourished when they arrived to this new settlement in a town called Benane. 
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