A lap for Joe

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


As a child, Joe Burke survived Leukemia, but as he attended the 18th annual Relay for Life in Washington Saturday, he had learned that once again cancer had invaded his life.

In December, Burke was diagnosed with cancer for a second time. More testing was done and about a week and a half ago doctors had only given him a month to live. Looking at Burke and his family ? his wife Stacy and son Kelton ? he did not seem very sick. Even though the family pushed him around the event in a wheelchair, Burke beemed as he met several of his friends. People lined up to shake his hand and to wish him their support. The family told friends that they planned to try another round of chemo to hopefully prolong his life, maybe as much as a year.

?It?s really weird knowing that it?s coming,? Burke said. ?When you pass away, it?s supposed to be something that is sudden. It is hard knowing it could be a few more weeks or it could be a year. Knowing it is coming is the hardest part.?

It wasn?t. On social media Sunday evening, Stacy Burke reported ?I lost my best friend, my soul mate, my husband, and my kid?s dad.? Joe Burke died Sunday, June 24, the day after taking a lap with Team Burke during Relay for Life.

During the event, Burke kindly said he appreciated the support all the people had given him so far.

Stacy Burke also said the family had begun working to help Joe Burke fulfill some of his final wishes. She said he wanted to go to ATT Stadium in Dallas, Texas and meet someone from the Dallas team.

?It?s hard knowing but we try to spend every minute together we can,? she said. ?We are trying to make his final wishes come true.?

During Team Burke?s lap, Stacy pushed Joe?s wheelchair at the front of a long line of people around the Washington square. Energy was good and many wished him well during the lap.

?I survived leukemia when I was 14 and we came out for that,? Joe Burke said. ?We are out here because of the fact I am going to lose the battle with it between a month and a year.?