Danilo Lopez was the light of my life for nearly three decades. So it’s only fitting that I walk in his memory in this year’s Light The Night on October 21 to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He would be honored to know that he is this year’s Memorial Hero. Danilo lit up so many lives. I know he would appreciate this last hurrah.
When he was diagnosed with cancer in 2014, we’d just returned from a vacation in Puerto Vallarta. One day, he looked at me and said, “I have lumps under my arms.” We thought maybe he’d had an allergic reaction to the lobster we’d eaten the night before. But then, the night sweats began. Other symptoms started showing up. A few weeks later, Dr. Raymond Taetle at Arizona Oncology sat us down and said the words we were hoping he wouldn't: “This is not good. You have lymphoma.”
Danilo, an eternal optimist, never lost hope. I never heard one complaint, even throughout six weeks of chemotherapy, and then a second round when the first didn’t work. Then losing his hair. And finally, a third round of chemo. Through it all, my husband stayed strong. But the cancer was even stronger.
I will never forget that morning I visited my doctor. He told me my husband had three to six months to live. Danilo stayed strong for five months before passing away on July 12, 2015. It’s bittersweet, really. Cancer had him for 10 months, but I got Danilo for nearly 30 years. I know he would have loved the mariachis who played at his funeral. They were just his style!
Danilo and I always wanted to vacation in Italy. My friend Cynthia and I went after he passed. I missed Danilo every step of the way. But I knew he was there in spirit. We were on a tour bus headed to our B&B when our tour guide announced the chef cooking for us that night was named Danilo. He was definitely with us!
Our son, Paul Danilo, and I will be walking this year to honor Danilo’s constantly generous spirit. He would have given his shirt off his back to anyone. In fact, I’d seen him do just that several times. In turn, I want to do what I can to give back. Our goal is to find a cure for cancer and every bit you give today helps us achieve that goal. Giving is easy on my Light The Night walk page.
You can also sign up to walk with us on October 21 at Park Place. All registered walkers will get a yellow lantern to hold up in Danilo’s memory this night. Let’s make Light The Night the party Danilo would want to be at!
Written by Julie Lopez
To donate and or join Julie Lopez and her Friends and Family team click here: Danilo's Dream Team.