Very shortly after receiving news of the passing of LRG member, GIST patient and wonderful friend, Donnie Ray Chadrick on December 5, 2008, the LRG received a letter from his ex-wife and dear friend, Janel Graham. We feel it would be a great disservice to all of Donnie’s friends in the GIST community not to share Janel’s message.

I know that most of you readers from my reading of the daily news, already have heard of the passing of my dear friend Donnie Chadrick.

I am doing what Donnie asked me to do after he was gone which was to let all of his friends on the “Raft” know of his passing to a peaceful place.

We were close friends, both with medical problems (I have Multiple Sclerosis), who could understand a lot. I could do research for him and he for me because four eyes are always better than two. We could laugh and discuss life rather than the daily fears and problems that we both would deal with, but also understand each other better on a bad day, because of our ability to speak very bluntly about very sensitive and personal issues.

I had one last Harley ride, and one last very special day with my dear friend. I felt it would be our last; it was. I believe he also knew his limited time left was nearing the end, because he worked at a feverish pace to finish his old truck, or at least get it closer to “finished”. Donnie was and will always be a dear friend. He was a hero who fought the monster till his end. And I have a feeling that he still fights alongside you fellow rafters in spirit. That’s the kind of man he was. His last wishes have been taken care of in a style that was his, and his alone. His memory will be forever in the hearts of many, and his courage will hopefully someday help in the curing of GIST.

So with a tearful end to this last request, I wish you all strength, hope and courage. And I want to thank you from Donnie, for all the support you gave him, he was so grateful for all of you.