Uli’s story: a life lived ferociously

May 1, 2015 at 11:30 am

Transfusions kept Uli alive so he could build happy family memories in the
remaining years of his life.

Families remember the exact date when their world changes – and not always for the better.

Uli’s widow, Vicki, says:

It was December 22, 2004, when we got the diagnosis. Dr. K. told us this was a treatable, but not a curable cancer. Without a cure, we were promised that we could patch Uli together so he could do what he does best…enjoy the life that he had.

I later asked Dr. K how he works with patients for whom there was only treatment, but no cure. His response was that he invested his hope in extending life. We saw our job as taking that gift of extended life and living it as fully as we were able.

And so, time and again over the next seven years, Dr. K patched Uli together and gave him blood transfusions. In turn, Uli was able to live the life he loved, ferociously.

Ultimately Vicki knew the medical treatments were not going to save Uli.

We were not going to obliterate his cancer. So we were intent on harvesting the resources that were available to us so that he could do as well as he was able.

Uli more than lived up to his part of the bargain. He and Vicki traveled to Turkey, Japan, China, Costa Rica, and Alaska. During the seven years of his illness, Uli saw three children graduate and one of his daughters get married. Those are gifts to him and to his family that you cannot measure.

That’s why Vicki donates platelets and money to BloodworksNW: she wants to bestow those immeasurable gifts on other families.

One in three of us will need a blood transfusion in our lifetimes. We just don’t know when that day will arrive or who will next find themselves in need.

The financial gifts you make to Bloodworks Northwest on May 5 can be stretched even further through the support of the Seattle Foundation. Learn more at http://www.seattlefoundation.org/npos/Pages/Bloodworks.aspx.