Joe Guckin was one of Outsports’ very first readers. Stumbling across the site back in late 1999, “Joe In Philly” made a name for himself in our community for his prolific posting on our discussion board and his ever-shaking head at Philadelphia sports teams’ inability to win the big one (which, of course, has changed over the Outsports years).
A while back, Joe learned he had brain cancer. He went at it like a champ, using every tool available to fight it. He had ups, he had downs. Through it all, he kept his incredible sense of humor and a positive outlook.
On Sept. 28, Joe authored the blog post so many of us had been fearing: “Update on #Cancer: Battle Nears An End.”
In talking with the doctor after the decision to discontinue the Avastin, the only option he could offer to continue trying to treat the tumor was a chemo in pill form, which was actually a standard method of treatment for glioblastoma before they started using Temodar and Avastin (both of which were unsuccessful in my case).
The doctor left me and my sister-in-law alone to talk. We both broke into tears (I'd like to point out that this was the first time in this whole thing that I cried. And that it's happened a couple more times since.)
So I made the decision to end all further treatment on the tumor. The doctor said there's no way to give me a specific prognosis as to how much time I have. Just basing it on averages of other glioblastoma cases he offered a guess of six months.
According to his brother today, that “guess of six months” may have been too optimistic.
While many of us haven’t seen Joe in years, he’s been a constant in our lives on social media and through his blog, The Joe In Philly Experience! The memories we shared, including me giving him a lap dance at a karaoke bar in Philadelphia, are still vivid in our minds.
One particular memory took place at our second “Outsports Reunion” in Philadelphia in 2004. Tailgating before an Eagles game, we engaged in a little four-on-four touch football game right there in the parking lot. The game went for a good half hour, but just about the only thing any of us remember is Joe crashing to the asphalt and us all worrying if he’d be limping into the stadium. He was fine and we all got a good laugh.
Thanks to the Philadelphia Eagles, Joe will make one last trip to a game this Sunday.
When the team heard about Joe, his prognosis and his lifelong addiction to the team, they invited him and his brother to attend a game. And not just any game — their huge match-up this Sunday with the Atlanta Falcons and MVP candidate Matt Ryan. They arranged ADA-compliant seating so he could be in his wheelchair — The cancer had made it difficult to walk.
In the last month since the Eagles’ invitation, Joe’s physical state has deteriorated quickly. It’s now not difficult, but rather impossible, for him to walk. Simply getting to the game a couple days ago seemed impossible, as ambulance services refused to take him from his home to Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday. Joe’s brother was ready to send the Eagles an email sadly declining their invitation.
That’s when Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims jumped in. The idea of Joe not living this experience with the Eagles because of a transportation issue was unacceptable to Sims; When we talked with him briefly Friday afternoon, Sims was making arrangements to get Joe from his home to the game and back home again.
When we talked to Joe’s brother on Friday, he said Joe was excited for the game. While it may be a struggle to get to the stadium, he is determined to cheer on the Eagles one last time.
Now all that’s left is one more huge favor from the Eagles: Beat the Falcons.