I know that my dad will be missed by so many, not only my mom (his best friend), my brother and our family, but also the many people who got to know him and the many patients at the VA, students and residents who knew "Dr Rakes".
My dad had this super soft purple blanket that he used during his chemo days at home when he rested. Campy was very found of this blanket and many times, Campy would win and my dad would let Campy have this soft blanket and he would get another blanket to keep him warm. Talk about a spoiled dog! Campy has the blanket with us here in Greenville and loves to use it every day to snuggle in.
My dad was always active and on the go so as you can imagine, going from super active to being on bed rest was incredibly hard for my dad. But he found every way to stay healthy through exercise and through his diet. In addition to PT, my dad had arm weights to perform in his char while sitting and my dad bought pedals to spin his legs while sitting. He told Karel that all he needed was some aero bars in order to be as fast as Karel – pictured below.
Karel even surprised my dad one day by setting up my old hybrid bike on a very old and not-working trainer. Karel worked his magic to get the trainer to work so dad could sit on the bike and watch TV and pedal for exercise. My dad was so happy about this and he told us that when he moved to Greenville, he couldn’t wait to buy a bike to ride.
My dad also walked on his treadmill after he learned to walk again - albeit less than 1.5 miles per hour most of time, it was still movement and something was better than nothing.
My dad never tried to impress someone and I think in today's society, I was always impressed how he really didn't try to be popular or look for ways to get attention. Today, experts are all about getting their name out in a big way and being extreme with how they provide info to the public.
My dad was an amazing writer and speaker and teacher. He had a great following and because of my dad's reputation, he was popular in his own bubble. He was an expert at what he did and it showed.
One of my most favorite memories was in 2012 when I raced the Iron Girl half marathon. Coincidentally, every year my dad would have a big optometry conference in Clearwater, on the same day as the Iron Girl running race. Whereas the other optometrists would complain about no parking or the traffic, my dad had his camera ready and a good excuse to excuse himself out of an early morning session to watch me finish my race.
My dad was so proud of me and of course, couldn't stop showing his friends at the conference his pictures of me winning the race that the other optometrists were complaining about. Thanks dad for always being there for me!
Karel's family lives in Czech and as you can imagine, it was very hard for Karel to be alone for the first 6 years of living in America with no family. Karel and I met in 2006 and instantly, Karel and my dad got along. Karel is very much like my dad in so many ways and I think that's why I feel incredibly lucky to have married Karel.
I am lucky that I have a dad in Czech and I know Karel's family in Czech was always thankful for my parents, for they welcomed Karel into their lives and home and gave their son love and support, as if he was their own son.
My dad was able to walk down the aisle in my wedding to Karel in 2008 and Aaron's wedding to Dana in 2013. We will never forget those special days which united our family.