Paul Keith Rutledge
06/11/1985 — 07/14/2008
Paul was diagnosed in spring of 2007, at age of 22 yrs. He had a mole on his bicep, not even as big as a dime. He had just gotten his first full time job 6 months earlier, so he had just recently moved out into his first apartment. He was 6′, 185 lbs, and he wanted to be a fireman like his dad. He never got his dream, but the guys at Station #30 of the Tulsa Fire Dept. gave him his last wish — to be a fireman for a day. He told the Tulsa World, local newspaper, 1 week before he died, that he wasn’t worried because there were so many people that were worse off than he was.
Cancer Treatment Center wouldn’t treat him due to his insurance. We took him to MD Anderson for clinical trials after chemo in Tulsa didn’t help. He was in so much pain, as it attacked his spine, brain, lungs, and liver.
We let him die at our family home, the house he had grown up his entire life. As his mom, it is indescribable to tell your only son to go ahead and die, to give up and let go. That was not my Paul. He was never a quitter!
I miss him, his funny texting to me, calling me every morning to tell me to have a nice day, or when he was in Houston, how he missed me. He was a good person, a wonderful son, great friend to many and me. I am so lonely without him.
I would like for the medical and research field to treat this “black beast” (melanoma) as importantly as the other cancers that get so much media attention. It takes our young people and the statistics for this are staggering!
Paul was such an amazing guy. He would give the shirt off of his back to even help out a stranger. I miss him every day, and he will always hold a very special place in my heart.
AIM is pretty awesome because it gives families and friends hope for survival for their loved ones. I wish I could be there for the AIM for the Cure Melanoma Walk in Houston, but unfortunately I have to work. Cindy and the rest of you who will be going … ROCK ON!
Erika Flanagan, friend