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Craig Strikmiller

By God’s design, October 23, 2009 changed everything in my life. It was the day I was told I had Multiple Myeloma. Pain in my left calf prompted my chiropractor to suggest an MRI. The MRI revealed several spots of cancer in my back with a resulting pathologic fracture of my L4 vertebra. 

My wife Patty and I were both born and raised in New Orleans and met in 1991 on a bike ride. As our love for each other has grown, so has our fondness for physical challenges including swimming, running and biking. In the past few years I completed my first marathon.  We both participated in the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon, and in April 2009 we both finished the New Orleans Half Ironman, just six months before discovering the challenges of cancer.  

We now consider ourselves in a new type of race. A marathon of cancer, chemotherapy, radiation, stem cell transplants, remission, relapse, remission again and relapse again are all part of the marathon course we run now.  By God’s grace, we have not spent much time exploring the “whys” of this new course. We know the continual challenge is to trust God--to trust that God will provide, to trust that God is improving us both on the inside, even while our physical being is fading. We have learned in this new course that God will provide His strength and His courage for our daily challenges.

With the cancer active and the chemo doubled, we know the days are limited. As God’s love is immeasurable, so is God’s provision. Angel Flight is God’ provision for us to run the race set before us.  With relapse, comes more treatment. With more treatment, come more trips to Little Rock. We drove 9 times from New Orleans to Little Rock in 12 months.  We experienced the good and bad along the way.  The bad included things like cracked windshields, no air conditioning, and $2000 car repairs. The good included seeing a man about to end his life by jumping off the Greenville Bridge. We stopped, we talked, and he drove home. 

A friend told us about Angel Flight and we were helped immediately. Our previous 8 -11-hour car journey is now a 2-hour joy ride. Our pilot is an angel named Robert and the gift he gives is perspective. There is a greater purpose. Cancer has the ability to destroy us, define us or develop us. We’ve been on the edge of all three throughout this 5-year experience.  We want to finish well and the finish line is not far away.  Our finish line is to trust God even when life hurts and now, we’re being carried over the finish line with Angel Flight.


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