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War hero's message will live on at TCU
"I know how this story ends," stated Lieutenant Colonel Mark Weber, 41, a decorated soldier from Rosemount who spoke at Tri-City United High School on Wednesday, Feb. 13, about what his life has been like since he was diagnosed with Stage IV gastrointestinal cancer three years ago. He wasn't looking for pity or asking for sympathy. What he was there to do, was inspire.
In 2010, after having massive surgery to remove the cancer in his intestines and liver, he was given only four months to live. Through his personal strength and endurance, he is still active and energetic, even knowing that his life may end at any moment. He chooses to live his final days inspiring others through his determination in facing adversity. One of the first things he did after his prognosis is gather journals he had written over the past 20 years, and wrote a book called "Tell My Sons", filled with stories and advice for his now 17-year-old and 12-year-old twin boys. The book has become a sensation, and for the past couple months Weber has been speaking with audiences and sharing the same message of power and encouragement from his book.
In the TCU gymnasium, students, staff and parents gathered to hear Weber's life story, and he began with a brief presentation of his illness and how dire his prognosis and life expectancy is.
"This may be my last address," Weber told them. "All we can do is control what is in our power to control."
He then asked the students to identify their personal hardships, and shared with them how he faces his illness by remembering these four things: Perspective, Perseverance, Personal Courage, and "the occasional middle finger" (overcoming it, even with the odds against you).
When he wrapped up his talk at TCU and asked if the students had any questions, several asked about liver transplants, why he got sick, and family history of cancer –– trying to make sense of his severe illness.
He responded that there was no cancer in his family history, he never used tobacco, and that he lived a healthy life. "This is one of those things," he responded. "It's straight up unfair."
Weber encouraged the students to start a bucket list now, and to put effort into setting goals to achieve the things on the list.
Col. Weber completed his visit in Montgomery by signing copies of his book at the Arts & Heritage Center later that afternoon.