Creating bucket lists is one of the many ways people keep track of their goals and aspirations. While most have multiple items on their list, this Kentucky dad only had one – to see his son’s first football game of his sophomore year.
It was Scott Sullivan’s only dying wish.
Scott was diagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare form of cancer in which the disease spreads to the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. According to the National Institutes of Health, individuals with this cancer had an overall life expectancy of only two to four months, even with treatment.
The 50-year-old was diagnosed after he was admitted to the hospital with abnormal lab results in early August. The doctors gave him only a few weeks to live and immediately discharged him to the Hospice of Lake Cumberland.
Knowing that he didn’t have much time, Scott knew he had to make the most out of it. His only dying wish was simple – to watch his son, Cade Sullivan, play the first football game of his sophomore year at Pulaski County High School.
So he asked his nurse at the hospice, Jerree Humphrey, if that would be possible.
The pair had developed quite a close friendship because of their similarities. Scott and Jerree both had teenage children who played sports at rival schools.
As much as she wanted to grant Scott’s request, Jerree knew it was too risky for a terminally ill patient. The first game of the season would be held in Belfry, a three-and-half-hour drive away, and Scott even considered driving there himself.
“I thought you know you’re talking seven or eight hours in the car and I said I don’t know how safe that would be or how realistic,” she told CNN.
Jerree knew how important it was for Scott to see his son play, so she figured out a way to make it happen. The nurse reached out to a nearby airport to see if she could charter a small plane, and within days, she got a response. Upon learning of his story, local dentist and pilot, Dr. Denny Brummett, offered to fly the devoted father to the game on his private aircraft.
Scott was thrilled upon hearing the news.
On September 11, Jerree, Dr. Brummett, Scott, and his partner Kristi Harrison, boarded the plane and flew about 200 miles for game day. The group sat on a grassy hill away from all the other spectators as an extra precaution.
As soon as Cade saw his dad, he quickly ran up the hill and hugged him tightly. Scott said he will never forget that moment, knowing it was one of those memories that his son will remember long after he’s gone.
“Words could not be put into sentences or phrases to describe how I felt at that time,” the father said. “I was just so happy to see my son.”
The emotional moment had everyone who witnessed it in tears.
“You could just not help but cry,” Jerree said. “He just embraced him so hard and was just so thankful for him to be there.”
No one knows what the future holds for Scott, but he hopes he makes it long enough to witness yet one more of Cade’s games.
Stories like this just prove that a parent’s love for their children is the greatest love there is in the world. Knowing that he didn’t have much time left, the first person that came to Scott’s mind was his son. Though he was feeling weak, he wanted to be there for Cade during one of the most important games in his life. And that in itself is a testament to his great love.