Ben Gieseman Melanoma Research Fund

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This campaign ends on December 31 at 11:59PM EST

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My father, Ben Gieseman, was a great man to everyone around him. A loving husband, a dependable friend, a diligent co-worker, an extraordinary dad, even a friendly stranger. He went through life with the full intention to take in as much information as he could. He also loved to share his findings and help people. He could always catch something that everyone else missed. I can remember so many family trips where you could tell he was very into a conversation with a local or expert on what world wonder we were discovering. Later, he would talk for hours about what he learned earlier. Our Dad was always willing to solve a sticky situation, even if he wasn’t exactly sure how, he would give it his best shot. The best part about him was his intellect, his humor and his pure laugh that would follow all the jokes he made. He would sometimes crouch over and hold his stomach, while holding onto something like the corner of the kitchen counter. He had grinned big with squinty eyes. It was true happiness. He was always living life to the fullest; cancer didn’t stop him either. During his two and a half year battle with brain melanoma, he would still want to take a silly picture doing something daring or swim to the deepest and darkest nooks and crannies of the ocean (or a cenote). 

A story that has always been between my Dad and I took place during the winter of 2019. My Dad and I went out to dinner ourselves. We ate at Ted’s Bulletin in The Mosaic District and sat in a two person booth. We most likely got something like burgers. There was a group of girls in the booth next to us. They ordered a huge slice of chocolate cake, my Dad’s favorite. Our eyes followed it as the waiter brought it to their table. Our jaws dropped as we both pointed out how rich it looked and came up with the idea to order it for our dessert. As we finished our dinners we were both stuffed and knew it. The chocolate cake might have to wait for another date night we thought, but then we looked back and noticed the girls had not taken one bite. The idea crossed our minds of just taking it and if we can’t finish it, we can’t finish it. The picture still appears in my mind of him walking a few steps toward the slice of cake, debating picking up the plate, then moving back into his seat. It happened a few times, I’m not going to lie. We both realized we were being silly, paid for our meal, and drove back home. No, I never got to share that slice of cake with my Dad. We never went back together, just the two of us, to have our special slice of cake. Looking back on it, I’ll make it a goal to share the memory with my family. And Dad will be laughing from above, with that big, contagious smile.

By Josie Gieseman

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