My Father : My Dad

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One of my biggest influences in my life is my own father, Terry Koch. My dad was like a best friend to me when I was growing up. He was incredibly strong, kind and funny. He instilled a lot of the values I have in me today, starting at a young age. Terry was a fighter. He battled with his own body throughout his life. Only later did I find out that he was a sickly child; I thought his illnesses came about later in his lifetime. When I was about nine or ten, he was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, among a series of other lung-related illnesses. At the time, we lived in Colorado. The altitude didn’t do him any favors and within a month he was on oxygen 24/7. The doctors from Denver told him that he had maybe a year to live. They recommended that we move to somewhere closer to sea level; the air would be easier to breathe if we did. So only a year after completing his lifelong dream of building a “dream house” and moving in, we packed up and moved to Santa Cruz. Yet when we got there, he not only went off oxygen for a while, he ended up toughing it out for another eight years. I was dealing with my own health issues at the time and still fondly remember how we used to say good night. He would always tell me “Feel better for me tomorrow,”. As a sick kid, I would sometimes feel dreary and tell him I wouldn’t. Yet if I tried to ask him to do the same, he would shrug and say he wouldn’t too. He would only match whatever I said that night, from “I’ll try,” to “I will,” making

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