September 15, 1988—May 13, 2010
Timothy N. Dunaway Jr, or as we called him, T.J., was one of the most amazing people you could have ever met. He had such an INFECTIOUS and VIBRANT personality and could light up a room when he walked in. He was one of those people that could always put a smile on your face. In June of 2009, T.J. was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and began chemotherapy shortly after. By July 2009, he went into the beginning stages of remission. However, in January of 2010, he relapsed and again started full treatment. Despite so many ups and downs, he remained himself, and lived by his motto "Never Quit". Even when the treatment made him weak or ill, he still found ways to stay upbeat and spread joy amongst everyone. We would often find him with his close friends laughing and joking as if he wasn't fighting cancer.
T.J. was a football player at Shenandoah University, a loving father, and an accomplished musician, playing several instruments. He kept these things close to him as a part of his identity and used them to help himself and others cope. He even entertained the other patients on his floor at Children's Hospital in Washington, DC by playing music on the piano! In the midst of the biggest battle of his life, he remained a light that beamed so brightly. If you were lucky enough to meet him, you would have never forgotten him. He would have found a way to make some type of connection with you. Whether it was through some of his favorite things like football, music, food, or anything else. Either way, you would leave delighted and smiling because you crossed paths with him. He just had that way of making you feel like you've known him for years.
On May 13, 2010, at the age of 21, T.J. left the earth physically, but left us with a lasting legacy. In his time here, he taught us so many things. He taught us how to love unconditionally. He taught us to laugh. He reminded us to be kind and live life fully. Most of all, he taught us to never, ever quit. He has truly been and always will be missed, but he remains an inspiration that we will carry for the rest of our lives.
Live life everyday as if it is your last and be grateful for that day! Treat people kindly, stay close and stand by your family and friends. Eat the food! Take the trip! Dance when you hear music! Give praise and hype people up! But more importantly, when things get hard, or don't go your way, do not give up.