Drew founded CoolingCancer . org in 2013 with the goal of raising money for cancer research and patients in Hawai ‘ i . Thus far , their nonprofit organization has given a total of $ 445,000 . Fighting cancer is personal for Drew because he lost his father to the disease . He shares his father ’ s memory which continues to fuel his support of this cause . Drew and Shirley Santos with their daughter , Keli , and dog , Sunny .
EVERY PHONE CALL ENDED WITH , “ I LOVE YOU ”
BY DREW SANTOS
did not have any contact with my Dad for almost
I 30 years . We were strangers due to divorce when I was around 10 years old , and it wasn ’ t until I was in my forties and married that we started a relationship .
Email brought him back into my life in a very slow way . A visit to his home to meet his new wife turned into weekends together and then trips to Napa , San Francisco , Australia , and Europe , to name a few .
We discussed the past , but we never dwelled on it . We only wanted to look to the future and spend time together , enjoying life and our families . He became my best friend , someone I could talk to , email , call and hang out with , and feel happy and comfortable .
We emailed sometimes daily , talking about sports , food , travel , or politics . Our relationship grew to where every email or phone call ended with “ I love you .” What a blessing this was after not hearing it for thirty years . Then , boom . After fighting cancer for a year , he was given a prognosis of six weeks to six months to live . He lasted about six weeks .
I visited him on Thanksgiving and he looked great — a little weak but smiling from ear to ear . A week later , hospice nurses were at his house , setting up a bed . Dad was gone by Christmas . I remember him saying , “ I didn ’ t think it would happen this fast .”
Seeing my Dad ’ s life pass before my eyes when he had so many years left , changed my life .
Now it included cancer .