Brother got to play in golf tournament to support cancer patients before he died

May 9, 2019

Earl Wilson was 63 when he died last summer after a long fight with cancer, but he got to play in the Douglas County Cancer Services benefit golf tournament last year at the Roseburg Country Club before he passed.

Earl’s brother, Rick Wilson, said Earl loved to play golf and, despite going through some rough cancer treatments, he was able to support the cause that has become important to the family and the company for which he works.

Rick Wilson is the district manager for Abby’s Legendary Pizza in Roseburg, which has been a supporter of one of the biggest fundraising events that helps cancer patients in Douglas County.

“We all get touched by cancer one way or another, and it provides a lot of support for those that need it, and it’s nice to have that support,” Rick said.

That’s why Rick will be participating this weekend like he has in past years — not only as a sponsor but with his team Saturday at the Roseburg Country Club. Registration is at 11 a.m. with a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m.

The anguish that cancer can be for victims and their families really hit home to the Wilson family in the early 90s. when Earl Wilson went though a string of cancer experiences. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the late ’90s and had his prostate removed while he was living in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“He was cancer-free for a number of years and then got colon cancer in 2010, and they removed that,” Rick Wilson said. “But in 2014, it came back in the same spot and they took out part of his colon.”

Earl Wilson moved to Oregon in 2015 and was cancer free again — for a while. But in 2017, doctors found that the cancer had metastasized in other parts of the body. He went through chemotherapy in April 2017. Later that year, a brain tumor was found and in 2018 doctors did brain surgery and took out the tumor.

He was doing well enough that he was able to play in the DCCS golf tournament in May 2018, with his brother. But about three months later the cancer was back — in the same spot. It was about a month later when he passed away on Aug. 4, but it meant a lot to him to play in the tournament.

“The last two or three years, he would have considered himself an avid golfer and enjoyed it a lot, none of us in the family got very good at it, but he really did enjoy getting out there and hitting the ball,” Rick Wilson said. “He absolutely loved it.”

Rick Wilson has had two brothers that have had their prostate removed, so it was a wake-up call for him to make sure he gets checked every year, because he is a higher risk due to the family history. He also gets a colonoscopy every five years to make sure there’s nothing going on there.

Wilson said after watching his brothers go through treatments and seeing the drain on the patient and family emotionally, it reinforced his support of organizations that help patients, like the Douglas County Cancer Services. And Abby’s has been a strong supporter of those organizations as well.

DCCS provides support to county residents that are undergoing treatment, and money raised in the golf tournament goes to help pay for supplies like wigs, turbans, hats, scarves and breast prosthesis and bras. Plus the DCCS will provide transportation assistance, financial aid for rent, groceries and utilities for those who need it.

Rick Wilson said he was happy that his brother was able to get out on the golf course and play for a good cause before he died. He encourages others to support the Douglas County Cancer Services and the Community Cancer Center.

“They provide a lot of support for those folks that are in need and certainly a lot of folks are dealing with that (cancer) in their lives and it’s nice to have that support,” Wilson said.