Chris Garvey's Story


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Chris was born in Virginia, Minnesota on December 4, 1951 to Jim and Rita Olsen.  She was the third of seven children.  She had a wonderful childhood and graduated from Farmington High School in 1970.  She had a tremendous love and desire to care for other people so she entered nursing school at Bethel School of Nursing in Colorado Springs, Colorado in the Fall of 1970.  She found wonderful friends in Colorado including her husband, but most importantly, she developed and learned her nursing skills.

She married a young Lieutenant, Pat Garvey, recently graduated from the Air Force Academy and together they moved to Lubbock, Texas where Chris completed her nursing degree.  After state boards in Austin, Texas, Chris became a registered nurse and passionately began serving those in need.

As her husband moved from one military assignment to another, she always found a way to serve those in need - whether teaching Lamaze childbirth classes, working on a medical/surgical floor in a hospital, or spending the last seven years of her life assisting patients at the Riverside Surgery Center.  She cared for patients through the most difficult of times, working until only 60 days from her death.

Chris' battle with cancer began in March, 1997 when she found a lump in her breast.  A doctor's appointment confirmed her worst fears, but as with all things she did, hope springs eternal.  She completed a lumpectomy, four doses of chemotherapy, and radiation between March and October.  Through the entire period, her exceptional strength carried her and all those around her.  After those eight months of treatment that included a short stay in the hospital, she and her family headed for a well needed vacation in the Bahamas.  

The joy of recovery, though, was short lived.  The cancer reappeared in March of 1998, this time outside the breast.  Chris' courage and strength continued to carry the day, and she dived head first into the next battle of her life.  Chemo began again, but after only three months, she ended up in the hospital with severe stomach pains.  The cancer had found its way to her liver.  She wouldn't give up even after being told the cancer had covered 40-50% of her liver.  She began another dose of chemotherapy, this time moving back to the chemo drug that had been used in 1997.  Hope began to bloom and she began to respond to the treatment.

She reached her maximum lifetime does of the drug in early Septemenber and appeared ready for a bone marrow transplant, but in the end that was not to be.  Before she could prepare for the transplant, doctors found fluid on her lung.  It meant a trip to the hospital and another long stay.  She came home just before Thanksgiving and enjoyed a few strong days at home.  Fevers came though and eventually on December 11, 1998 just after noon, she died at home, her heart no longer able to support her.

Throughout her ordeal, her foremost concern was her family, and she provided support beyond belief.  She wouldn't dream of missing one of her son's soccer games or any of her daughters' functions.  Just two months before she died, she watched her son score a goal in the last soccer game she ever watched.

The mat at the front door of her house when she died offered the saying from Garrison Keillor, "The Garveys - where the women are strong..."  Chris' strength and courage carried her and all those around her through a difficult ordeal.  It's in that spirit of strength and courage that this "Go for the Goal" tournament is conducted - strength and courage on the field of play to benefit those now suffering from breast cancer and those that will.

Someday with lots of help from lots of people, breast cancer will be eradicated.

    © Patrick Garvey 2013