Originally, this event was to be a fundraiser to help Ricky Holditch out with medical costs and housing. Cancer was quickly and cruelly taking this young man's life and it would be a chance to get together with him and show our support.
Sadly, as we all know only too well by now, Ricky passed away a few weeks ago at the age of 26. The fundraiser would now be a memorial and a chance to celebrate all that was good about Ricky. I ran into several people who I have know for years who had also somehow the pleasure of getting to know Ricky in his short life.
Organized by Ricky's family and friends, the night included live bands, a DJ, door prizes, games and a buffet. Proceeds would now go towards covering funeral costs, with any additional donations going to colon cancer research.
It was truly a memorable event and it was easy to see Ricky's spirit was with us and enjoying himself.
I met Ricky many years ago. Rick's best friend was Andrew MacNeil, Andrew's dad Doug is one of my longtime friends, so that's the connection. From the first time I met him I remember thinking what a nice guy he seemed to be and not too hard on the eyes either!
Maybe I was just dazzled by that smile, but Ricky always seemed to light up a room just by being there and although I didn't get to know him as well as his family and friends did, I could always tell his was a decent guy.
When he went public with his cancer in local newspapers in January, I could see that light again. Here was this incredible young man sharing his story with reporters as he lived out his final days. We read of Ricky preparing a feast for his family and friends even though he was weak and unable to eat any of it. Always thinking of the ones he loved and cared about.
There was a reason I got to meet Rick Holditch. To remind me that life is precious and to enjoy it while you can.
Rest in peace Ricky, you spread the message well.
Donny Gets Ink'd for Ricky
In honour of his friend Ricky, Don Angus Maclean had an awesome tatt done on his arm. One of Rick's nickname's was "West Hill Cop O' Gravy" which appears along with Rick's birth and death dates in the tattoo.
Donny, what a nice way to remember Ricky -I'm sure he's smiling at that one!
Stephanie's Tribute Tatt to her Beloved ...
A Toast to Ricky
HOLDITCH, Richard (Ricky) - after a long and courageous battle with colon cancer, Ricky took his final journey on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 1:15 p.m., at the St. Catharines General Hospital, surrounded by family and friends. He has gone to be united with his mom, Janice (2006), grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and all those loved ones gone before. He will be remembered as a loving and devoted son to Richard and Yvonne. A special baby brother to Tammie (Lee) and a very special stepbrother to Tammy (Dave), Phil (Shawna) and Dan (Laura). Loving uncle to Tyler, Alex and Karlee. Also survived by companion Stephanie, family friend Pete, best friend Andrew and all of his West Hill boys, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmom and granddad. Ricky was an avid fisherman and Texas Holdem Poker player and his passion for cooking was enjoyed by all. He was a selfless loving and caring person and even through his battle he still placed family and friends first in his life. He had a great sense of humour and could make friends easily, and was always trying to be everyone's protector even up to his last days. Ricky will be greatly missed by all who loved him. Special thank you to Dr. Levesque, the Nursing staff and Oncology staff on the Palliative Care Floor and an extra special thank you to support worker, Donna Cook. Ricky's family will receive friends at the LAMB-BOCCHINFUSO FUNERAL HOME, 2 Regent St., Thorold on Thursday from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Funeral Service in The Lamb Chapel on Friday at 10 a.m. Cremation to follow. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in memory of Ricky to Hospice Niagara, Wellspring Niagara or to the NHS- Walker Family Cancer Centre would be appreciated by the family. Online condolences at www.lbfuneralhome.com9903191
article courtesy the Standard 03/03/11
Fundraiser goes on, in memory of Ricky Holditch Cancer claims life of 26-year-old St. Catharines man
By Karena Walter, Standard Staff
Ricky Holditch knew his last hospital visit was going to be different.
The pain was more severe than he had felt before, he confided to his dad. His legs were beet red and it was like his body was on fire.
Still, as had been his pattern, he didn't want anyone to be concerned. He asked his father not to tell the rest of his family he believed he was dying.
"Ricky didn't want people to be worried about him. He wanted everyone to think he was fine," Richard Holditch said.
On Monday, after a courageous battle with colon cancer that robbed him of his youth, Ricky Holditch died at St. Catharines General Hospital. He was 26.
"He fought and fought to the very end. He was determined to stay as long as he could," his father said.
A fundraiser that was scheduled for March 12 at Club LaSalle to make Holditch's last days more comfortable will go ahead as a memorial benefit. The money will be used to help pay funeral expenses, as Holditch had no savings or income. He had to stop working in 2009 because of the disease and was living on Ontario Disability Support Program assistance.
His father said Ricky asked him to give any extra money from the fundraiser and from an account set up at Scotiabank, #235720059382, to colon cancer research.
A life-long St. Catharines resident, Holditch went to St. Anthony School and West Park Secondary School. He worked at his father's cleaning company and enjoyed fishing as a young man.
But in 2009, he felt severe pain in his kidneys, went through a barrage of tests and was diagnosed with colon cancer.
He had surgery in August 2009, but cancer spread to his pelvis and lower stomach.
He had since encouraged young people to get tested for the disease that's usually associated with older people.
Family and friends said despite the chemotherapy and terminal prognosis, Holditch was more concerned with how they were holding up.
He even cooked a large dinner for his family while on a day pass from the hospital in January, despite not being able to eat any of the food himself.
"I wanted to have a nice meal for my family," he told The Standard in the palliative care wing. "I figured it would be the last meal for everybody."
His wish was to die at home, and he did get to live there for a time.
In January, he was bumped up the list for a program that allowed him to hook himself up to an IV for 12 hours a day in the comfort of his own apartment. A nurse came daily to set up his IV machine and mix his medication.
"We really thought when he got out of the hospital he'd be OK for a few months," said family friend Henry Grau, who organized the fundraiser.
"It was inevitable, but everybody thought it would be longer."
On Feb. 23, Holditch woke up in severe pain and couldn't get out of bed.
He was taken to hospital, where doctors discovered he had developed pneumonia and a blood infection.
"Every day, you're waking up with something different and it's not going to go away. You have to keep doing what you do or what's the point of it?" he told The Standard in January.
"You might as well make use of the time you do have."
“Reason, Season, Lifetime”
People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.
When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.
Thank you for being a part of my life,
whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime
Here is the article featuring Rick as seen in The Standard 01/11/11
Man making the most of time he has left
by KARENA WALTER
Ricky Holditch exhausted himself indulging in his passion by cooking up a storm one week ago.
The 25-year-old wasn't content with just cooking chicken for his family. His grandmother's stuffing, pulled pork, ham and salad had to be on the table too.
A feast by anyone's standards, one that took everything out of him — and he couldn't eat any of it.
"I wanted to have a nice meal for my family," Holditch said Monday in the palliative care wing at St. Catharines General, where he is fighting and losing his battle with colon cancer.
"I figured it would be the last meal for everybody."
Holditch speaks matter-of-factly about the disease that has stolen his youth and is expected to take his life.
He was given one to three years to live, and that was a year-and-a-half ago.
The cancer took him by surprise, particularly because of his young age. Though his mother died of bone cancer five years ago, colon cancer was not in the family.
The life-long St. Catharines resident, who went to St. Anthony School and West Park Secondary School, felt severe pain in his kidneys back in 2009.
He went through a barrage of tests and, though colon cancer was the diagnosis, Holditch said no one thought it would be as bad as it was.
But the mass was so large it was pressing into his back and since surgery in August 2009, the cancer has spread to his pelvis and lower stomach.
"It's been quite a fight the last year and a half," he said. "It changed my life."
Up until the day before his surgery, he was working for his father's cleaning company. Since then, he's had to rely on the Ontario Disability Support Program. He loved to go fishing, but that hasn't happened for a long time.
"This is the third round of chemo I'm going through now," he said Monday, describing the nose bleeds and blood clots in his lungs that he endured during the first two rounds.
He has been in hospital since Dec. 19.
He gets to go home on day passes, but wants to go home permanently to the apartment he shares with a roommate and two cats, once his medication doses are worked out and he learns to operate an IV for food.
"It's more comfortable," he explains. "I wouldn't want to pass away here. I'd want to pass away at home."
Family friend Henry Grau, whose son Kurt went to elementary school with Ricky, has been organizing fundraising events and workplace collections to make that transition easier.
He set up a trust fund with Ricky's father Monday, so they can buy Ricky what he needs beyond the limited funds paid out by ODSP, such as additional medical equipment or simply game time on the Internet.
"I didn't want money to be an issue for Ricky at this time in his life," Grau said. "He's got enough to worry about."
His father, Richard, said Ricky is more concerned about how his friends and family are holding up.
The feast he prepared was just an example of that.
"He was literally standing with his eyes closed and I said, 'I think you need some sleep,' " Richard said.
"He's strong willed. He doesn't give up. When he wants to do something, he does it."
His sister, Tammie, 30, said her brother has always looked out for her.
"It's hard. I'm older than he is and he's going to pass away before me," she said. "Any time I have, I cherish. I can't imagine him not being in my life."
To that end, Ricky Holditch feels strongly other young people could be saved from his fate. He wants young people with stomach problems or blood in their stool to insist their doctors refer them to a specialist. Since he was diagnosed, several friends have said they can't get those all-important referrals because their family doctors think they are too young for serious problems.
Holditch said he never thought when he turned 24 he'd be diagnosed with colon cancer.
He's making the most of the time he has, even in what is often excruciating pain.
The fact he couldn't eat the meal he slaved over for his family, because he's limited to IV food or broth, didn't stop him from laying out the spread. Most didn't feel comfortable eating in front of him, but he insisted.
After all, he said, if he was on oxygen, he wouldn't tell visitors not to breathe. He likes to cook for others.
"Every day, you're waking up with something different and it's not going to go away. You have to keep doing what you do or what's the point of it?" he said.
"You might was well make use of the time you do have."
Young man dying of colon cancer celebrates birthday at home
By KARENA WALTER/QMI Agency
ST. CATHARINES — Just for once, Ricky Holditch asked if he could postpone his chemotherapy.
It's no way to spend a birthday. Especially when there are few to come.
"I asked if we could do it next week, because I was in the hospital for Christmas and New Year's and everything else," he said Friday. "If I don't have to feel sick for my birthday, then I don't have to."
On Saturday, the St. Catharines man will turn 26 with a handful of family and friends in the apartment he shares with a roommate and two cats. And next week, he'll go in for his chemo.
Holditch has colon cancer that has spread to his pelvis and lower stomach. A year and a half ago, doctors gave him one to three years to live.
His family and friends are preparing for the inevitable and trying to raise money so he can be more comfortable living out his last days. He worked up until August 2009 at a cleaning company, but has to rely on the Ontario Disability Support Program now.
Family friend Henry Grau opened a bank account with Holditch's father and they've planned a fundraising event for March 12 at Club LaSalle.
Any extra money, Grau said, will go toward his funeral costs.
For now, Holditch said he's glad to be home after spending over a month in hospital at St. Catharines General, only going out on day passes.
He was bumped up the list for a home program. A nurse comes to the apartment every day to set up his IV machine and mixes his medication. He hooks himself up to the IV for 12 hours a day.
"In the evening, it runs through the night and through the morning," he said. "Then I get unhooked and then I can just relax for the day, and then I can go back on it for the evening."
Holditch's roommate is in school, but around at night for emergencies. His father drops by during the day.
On Friday, he was dealing with swollen legs and relegated to an armchair. He was passing the day playing Wii or World of Warcraft on the computer. Holditch also breeds fish and enjoys his five aquariums.
"I like being at home, being a little more independent and that," Holditch said. "I just feel more comfortable here."
He hopes he won't be sent back to the hospital, but it's out of his hands.
"We're just going to play it by ear. Right now, I'm good enough to be home and everything seems to be going properly. But the hospital thing, it's always up in the air."
He's become used to being sent home only to have to go in again.
"Ricky's back at home, so that was a small victory I guess, in itself," said Grau. "For what you can expect in the circumstances, he's happy to be back home and not have to deal with all the people in quarantine and such around his room in the hospital. He wants to die at home."
Grau said Holditch's supporters were hoping for a better response to fundraising efforts. They don't want him to worry about money at a time like this.
Donations can be made for Ricky Holditch at Scotiabank, account #235720059382.
"Ricky could still really use some help," Grau said. "We're just going to keep plugging away for him and hopefully get him enough money so he can be comfortable in the short time he has left."