Father Figures: Eff Cancer

“My wife and I were blessed with twins. One boy (Max) and one girl (Mia). Both were born premature and spent weeks in the NICU. After finally being able to bring them home, we assumed it would be easy sailing from then on. Unfortunately, we were very wrong.

At a little over two months old, Max had issues keeping milk down. Projectile vomiting after every feeding.

He had a condition called pyloric stenosis. The muscle between the stomach and intestines didn’t grow as it should and held a tight grip that prevented food to pass through. At two months old, he had to have surgery. The surgery went well and we could take a breath of relief. No more eating issues. We assumed that the worst was behind us.

We were wrong. Again. They saw a mass in Max’s right eye. Cancer. Retinoblastoma.

We made an appointment for that following Friday for Max to get an MRI. This would show whether the cancer was contained within the eye, or whether it had spread to the optical nerve where it would make its way to his brain. I cannot put into words how sick and anxious we were. Once he was tested, we were told that it would be Monday before we would know the results. That ENTIRE weekend was hell. Constantly worrying and not knowing if what they found would potentially mean life or possible death for our son. No words exist that would properly convey what we were feeling.

Flash forward that Monday. It was time. My wife was too scared so I agreed to make the call, even though I too was scared. I cried before I hit the dial button. I was afraid of what I was going to be told. I eventually got myself together and called. I said hello to the doctor, then closed my eyes and listened. I was told that the cancer was indeed contained in his eye. It had not spread. I cried more.

Now we had two options: treatment in the hope that the tumor would respond and shrink, or… remove his eye and rid his body of the disease.

They gave us a window to decide.

My wife and I didn’t really talk to one another about how we felt regarding which option. It was one of those things we had to choose ourselves and accept without ever feeling as if we convinced the other what the best course of action was.

My wife and I agreed. It was the hardest yet easiest choice we ever made, but we were not going to gamble with our son’s life or make him suffer through chemo with zero guarantees.

July 5th, 2013. They sedated my son and wheeled him off. I excused myself to the bathroom, sat in a stall, and cried harder than I ever have in my life. Helpless. I hated it. Hated that I could not trade places. Hated that he had to go through it. I cried in that stall for who knows how long.

It went extremely well. A couple weeks later, we received more good news. The cancer was sporadic; the chances of him getting it again were the same as any of us getting it for the first time. That also meant his sister, Mia, was probably safe as it wouldn’t have been passed to her genetically.

The relief was unexplainable.

Eventually, he received a prosthetic eye (which he absolutely hates wearing!). The only limits he will ever have are the ones we set for him, so we don’t. We get him to laugh about his eye so that it’s not something he feels self-conscious about; we don’t let him look at it as being a disability.

Today, he is a happy and energetic 5-year-old who loves to dance! We know how lucky we have been. There isn’t a day that goes by that we aren’t reminded of that when we see the big smile on our son’s face.”

  • Brandon Gaulding

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

6 Dads Who Made the Most out of Winter 2019 [WATCH]

6 Dads Who Made the Most out of Winter 2019
(Eric Fobbe)

Winter is the best season! There’s snow to play in, there’s ice to skate on, and sometimes the commute to work is just too tough to struggle through (even though you managed to drive to the good tobogganing spot without a problem).

While lots of people are content with snuggling up indoors with some cocoa and a movie, these Dads are showing the season who’s boss.

1. Dad builds a wheelchair accessible snow fort

Gregg Eichhorn of Cincinnati spent five hours building a wheelchair-accessible snow fort so his daughter and son could both wheel through it. And he has seven other kids, get the full amazing story here.


2. Snow+Batman = Snowman? oh.

Alan Wolfard in New Mexico built an 8-foot snow Batman in his front garden in Bloomfield. He said it took him about three hours to build and it’s been getting lots of attention from his neighbors. He followed up Batman with Wonder Woman shortly after.


3. B.C. Dad builds an ice rink for his hockey-loving son

The winters are notoriously temperamental in British Columbia, Canada. After waiting weeks for the cold weather to stay, Sam Dinter and his dad, Chris are skating around their own backyard.

Ever since he was a boy, Chris wanted to build his own hockey rink in his garden and now, as a Dad, he can do it. Along with his sons, he put a liner down and filled it with a layer of water.

After weeks of worrying that the big freeze was never going to come, the weather finally cooperated and their garden was transformed from a shallow pool to the perfect ice rink.

4. Dad builds a monster snowman

Yet another dad putting our moderately proportioned snowman to shame, Eric Fobbe of Buffalo, Minnesota wanted to build ‘The Father of All Snowmen’.

He used a snowblower, a skidsteer, and a shovel to construct the 20-foot-tall ‘Snowskwatch’ in his yard. His neighbors must be so happy.


5. Saskatoon man builds an ice castle

Elsa has nothing on Don Greer of Saskatoon, Canada who built a 22-feet tall ice sculpture in the shape of a beautiful castle.

“Built with a one-by-two wood armature – with a chicken wire mesh that’s applied over that and then you begin to spray with a fine mist of water from a garden hose,” Greer said.

Inspired by Disney’s Frozen, it took Greer over 60 hours to finish and almost all of December.


6. Dad builds a snow tubing track in his front yard

Brian Johnson in Moorhead, Minnesota was inspired by the sheer amount of snow they’ve had this season. He has been working on the snow tubing track since February and is over 6 feet tall at the highest point. You can watch a video of the fun here.

“Just an epic tubing hill…of course, the children, they need something to do, keeps me busy,” he said.

In the spring Johnson said that he’ll turn it into a slip ‘n’ slide hill.

Wow! I wish he was my neighbor.

Dad Builds 6 Foot Snow Tube Hill
(KVRR Local News)

Looks like I’m going to have to up my game next winter!

Brewery Puts Lost Unicorn Stuffy to Work in Hopes of Getting Him Home

(Twitter/EurekaHeights)

Breweries offer a lot of things, most of which I am a big fan. One that surprised me recently, however, was stuffed animal recovery.

It started when a frantic dad ran into Eureka Heights Brew Co. looking for his kid’s stuffed unicorn. At the time, no one in the brewery had seen the toy so the dad left to look elsewhere.

When the little mythical creature turned up later, the brewers had no way of contacting the flustered dad, so they hopped on Twitter to try and get the word out.

And things didn’t stop there. Since things were taking longer than expected, the brew team decided the little guy should have to earn his keep.

In the end, the new four-legged brewer went through the entire beer-making process, from raw ingredients to canning.




With all of the social media hullaballoo, the dad eventually got in touch to rescue the newest Eureka Heights master brewer.

Hopefully, he grabbed a few cold ones on the way out that the two of them could share after such a hard day’s work.

Yippie-Ki-Yay! The Die Hard Board Game Is Almost Here

(20th Century Fox)

Welcome to the party, pal! The newest board game coming to market is based on the classic action film Die Hard and looks pretty promising.


Titled Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game, the game is reportedly a one-versus-many asymmetrical experience, just like John McClain versus a skyscraper full of baddies.

(OP Games)

Die Hard’s influence over the action-thriller genre is staggering, so we were beyond excited for the opportunity to harness the movie’s expert blend of action, intelligence and drama into a unique tabletop experience,” said Pat Marino, lead game designer for OP Games, in a press release. “We are developing a game that will deeply resonate with Die Hard enthusiasts, incorporating even the slightest details to create a rich and entertaining experience that properly pays tribute to arguably the greatest action movie of all time.”

OP Games is known for creating new licensed versions of classic games like Clue, Monopoly, and Risk.

Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game is reportedly an all-new tabletop game developed internally at OP, not based on any classic games you might recognize.

The price of the game has yet to be announced, but $640 million in bearer bonds would be reasonable to the vast majority of Die Hard fans. Expect to see this bad boy on select retailer shelves this spring.


March Madness Has Nothing on This Nail-Biter of a Baby Race [WATCH]

Baby Race
(Facebook/ESPN)

The NCAA Tournament kicks off today, leading to two weeks of nail-biting competition, agonizing last-second losses, and countless bracket busters. The 64-team tourney is a hell of a way to kick-off spring. There simply aren’t many sporting events that bring the drama like March Madness does.

But we may have found one that gives it a run for its money.

Last week, during the ACC tournament, there was a matchup between ACC also-rans Boston College (GO EAGLES!) and Pittsburgh. Don’t worry, this isn’t the “drama” we’re talking about. Neither of those teams factored into their conference tournament, let alone this weekend’s big dance.

What we’re talking about happened at half-time, when the teams left the court to make way for the true competitors: a bunch of babies! I don’t just mean Dickie V’s diaper dandies, I’m talking actual, literal babies.

The halftime “show” featured the 2019 ACC Tournament Baby Race, wherein a bunch of parents deposited their infants on the court and coaxed them into racing each other. Six babies were placed, on their hands and knees, at the foul line by one parent, while the other parent stood at half court and tried to exhort their child to crawl to them.

Somehow, this race of oblivious, poorly-coordinated babies resulted in some high drama! After some confusion, during which the lead baby turned around and went back to his mother, a blue-clad baby stormed out to a big lead.

Unfortunately, before reaching the finish line, the kid became distracted by something shiny, or maybe filled his diaper with something slimy, and slowed to even more of a crawl, leaving things wide open for the suddenly sprinting baby at the top to sneak up from behind and steal a victory.

The legitimately thrilling video has nearly 300k likes and over 167,000 shares. Which is a lot more engagement than the BC/Pitt game got!

Watch it here:

3 Things to Do With Your Kids This Weekend

Things to Do With Your Kids
(Getty/ktmoffitt/Westend61/Johner Images)

Hooray for another weekend, or two-day-vacation-with-kids as I like to think of it. It’s all about disconnecting with the daily drudgery and making some memories with your little ones. It doesn’t matter if you’re building something or just being silly, commit to whatever you’re doing and have a good time.

Go Metal Detecting

Metal Detecting with Kids
(Getty/ktmoffitt)

The ground has thawed and it’s time to hunt for buried treasure! Yes, you’ll need to rent or purchase a detector, but they are relatively inexpensive to buy these days and there are even less expensive models for children – as low as $30. You can rent a higher-end model for yourself that can distinguish the type of metals your kids have detected with their junior versions – that way you end up with less rusty nails and more coins. This activity gets them outside and exercising and they still get to clutch a handheld device!

Host a Crazy Cook-Off

Set-up a few stations with ingredients and cooking utensils that your little chefs get to be in charge of.  Give them the basics: flour, eggs, milk and then kick things up a notch by allowing them to add any other ingredients! Let them explore the fridge and cupboards and add whatever they please: ketchup, olives, various spices, etc. Before they start, explain to them they have to try at least one bite of whatever they make after it’s been baked. Make sure to record the taste test, obviously.

Or you could go with something edible and make a pizza together.

Un-Bore a Chore: Spring Cleaning

It’s official, spring has sprung! So get the kids involved in the traditional clean-up by making it fun and rewarding. Start by putting on some music that will keep everyone energized. Challenge your kids to tidy an area against the clock – start a timer and let the games begin! Most times they’ll be enthused to use the tools of the trade – a broom, vacuum, a dust wand, etc. Offer incentives, dinner at their favorite restaurant, a credit toward a new purchase, or a night out at the movies.

They could also purge their old toys and donate them to charity.

Spring Cleaning With Kids
(Getty/Johner Images)

For more suggestions check out last week’s 3 Things to Do With Your Kids.

Just a heads up, if you buy stuff using the provided links, The Dad may collect a small commission.

Music Video Shows People With Down Syndrome Living Their Best Lives [WATCH]

(Facebook/Wouldn't Change A Thing)

World Down Syndrome Day is here!

Today is the day when those with Down Syndrome, as well as those who live and work with them, come together to raise public awareness and create a single global voice, advocating for the right, inclusion and well being of those with Down Syndrome.

The parent-led Down Syndrome awareness organization “Wouldn’t Change a Thing” is focused on creating a world where negative and inaccurate perceptions of Down Syndrome are a thing of the past.

This year, the organization created a video to the tune of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” to highlight the ways in which people with Down Syndrome of all ages enjoy and achieve in life.


“This video project lets the fulfilling lives of young people with Down Syndrome do the talking,” they wrote in the description. “It holds up a mirror to society and dares the viewer to challenge everything they thought they knew about Down Syndrome, and to think again.”

Want to show the organization your support? Check out their Facebook page and don’t forget to use #wouldntchangeathing

Bill & Ted Face The Music as Middle Aged Dads in 2020 [WATCH]

Bill & Ted Teaser Announcement
(Twitter/BillandTed3)

You know those guys you knew in high school or college who you could never imagine having kids? Maybe they were burnouts or jelly butts, or maybe they just didn’t seem like they’ ever grow up? We all knew guys like that, and wouldn’t you know it, as unlikely as it seemed at the time, they ended up getting older too!

In related news, Bill S. Preston, Esquire and Ted “Theodore” Logan – Bill and Ted – are coming back in a new movie, and in it, they’re middle-aged dads. And we are all officially old men.

That’s right, a third Bill and Ted movie is coming soon to a theater near you, written by the screenwriters of the first two flicks, with original stars Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves reprising their famous roles. But things are a little different this time because while Wyld Stallyns remain together, they’re now – wait for it – middle-aged dads! And you thought they went through hell in BOGUS JOURNEY!

Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.

Seeing those two as parents is going to be something. Especially without the guidance of the late great George Carlin as Rufus! Here’s hoping they’re not quite as airheaded as they used to be.

Today, the duo went on Twitter to thank fans and officially announce that the film – Bill and Ted Face the Music – will be released on August 21st, 2020.

In the short video, Winter says the film is a result of all the fan support: “It is all because of you guys, so we owe you a huge debt of gratitude and we want to say thank you.”


The official synopsis, from the press release:

Yet to fulfill their rock’n’roll destiny, the now middle-aged best friends set out on a new adventure, when a visitor from the future warns them that only their song can save life as we know it and bring harmony to the universe. Along the way, they will be helped by their families, old friends and a few music legends.