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Old 12-08-2010, 09:21 PM   #1
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Our Dear Friend Hitchhiker

As many of you know Hitchhiker (Richard) has been a leader of our community for the last decade. Not only has been one of our top contributors but he's also donated his time to be an Administrator and literally help guide this community into the blossoming place it is today.

Unfortunately it's with a heavy heart that I have some news to report about his health. As some of you know he has been battling with cancer and as of this past summer it was in remission. In late October they did an MRI and compared it to a previous MRI done in July. It revealed a spot inside the bone of his right knee adjacent to where cancer was previously excised last year had grown in size. A biopsy was done at Vanderbilt the following week and they also had a full body PET Scan done.

The diagnosis was malignant; it’s called “osseous metastases’ of Leiomyosarcoma” which in plain English is bone cancer. The PET scan showed the cancer had metastasized to various areas of his skeleton including the spine, lower right rib, right thigh, bottoms of both feet, lower right jaw, base of skull, sternum, pelvis, left knee, and left inguinal lymph node.

The doctors reviewed his reports and advised him that this cancer can’t be cured. A treatment plan has been developed to make him as pain free as possible and to give him as much quality time as they can. The plan for treatment started earlier this week when they installed a power injectable port in his upper right shoulder area. Tomorrow (Thursday) the first infusion starts. They will continue with a regime of chemotherapy and some radiation for the areas that give him the most pain.

As a fellow Administrator of this site I have known about this for the past month. During that time it's been amazing to see how Richard is handling this situation. Through the ups and downs he has remained a rock. When I face adversity in my life I hope I can be as strong as he has been.

Richard has been a leader his whole life, even before he earned his Eagle Scout. He's helped foster iRV2 into the fine place it is today (along with many other wonderful team members) as well as being a great husband & loving Father. It appears that everyone in his path on this earth has been blessed and for that we are all thankful.

Richard goes in for his first does of Chemo tomorrow. He's likely to be feeling pretty crummy after. I thought it would be nice if we could all share some fun stories, fond memories and well wishes so Sylvia can read them to him and help him get through these trying times.

Richard, stay strong, you are in our thoughts and prayers.
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Old 12-08-2010, 10:08 PM   #2
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I never had the pleasure of knowing Richard. I was always impressed with the professionalism of his posts. Since he had a big part in the direction of this forum, all I can say is Job Well Done! We hope the remaining time is easy and pain free.
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Old 12-08-2010, 10:25 PM   #3
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Richard and I have been back and forth here on the forum a few times. My Prayers are with him and Sylvia. Keep fighting guy.
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Old 12-08-2010, 10:35 PM   #4
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My prayers are with you and Sylvia at this time in your life Richard.

I am honored to have had the privilege of getting to know you and Sylvia over the years.

God Bless You My Friend,

Bob Gregory
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Old 12-08-2010, 10:37 PM   #5
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WoW, May God bless.




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Old 12-08-2010, 10:46 PM   #6
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I don't know Richard either as I haven't been a part of this forum for very long, but if this forum's professionalism, attitude, and heart are a part of his doing... well I thank you!

As for Sylvia, is there an address to share to send cards or flowers of some sort or anything else that you or Richard would like help with? I'm sure about everyone on here would do something one way or another for you!

May God bless you the rest of the way. Have never been good at goodbye's with the rest of my family, so take care and I hope to meet you next time!

Chris, Ashley, & Sunshine
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Old 12-08-2010, 10:53 PM   #7
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I'm here for you both, Richard & Sylvia, if ya need. I've been through chemo myself, so if ya want any survival tips, just PM me.

One of the perks, if there is one, of chemo is when you forget where you left your car keys (glasses, book you were reading, underwear, or anything else for that matter...Dave once in my case - I dropped him off at HD & knowing he'd be in the tool aisle a while, I said I'd be back & went to shop in nearby stores. Forgot about him, got in the car & went home. 2 hours later, my cell phone rings, guess who?), you just play the "chemo brain" card & you'll get a free pass. Works every time! I'm still using it.

I hope it all goes smoothly for you tomorrow. Sending good thoughts!

Lori-
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Old 12-08-2010, 11:44 PM   #8
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The Tampa RV Supershow - January 2003
Seen in the photo is Richard (L) and David (R). I am taking the picture.

In early 2002, Bill Rowell (Warpath), Dave George (RVrsRUS), Richard Hale (Hitchhiker) and I planned to promote iRV2.com at a large event and we all chose to do this at the Florida RV Trade Association's Supershow in Tampa, FL.

We arrived at the Supershow excited however and it was challenging from the very first day since the phone company messed up our order. I don't believe that we ever did get the DSL line run to the display booth but we were fortunate in being able to jack into the KVH display right next door. We used Dave's laptop at the time. It would have been quite embarrassing to be an Internet website without the Internet but it all worked out. On the 1st day of the show, Industry Day, we were up and running.

You can see from the antiquated equipment that we used it was a bear to deal with. We built "Mount Monitor" with boxes and milk crates I believe and on the top, we placed a 20 inch NEC color monitor. The monitor must have weighed 50 pounds or so, it certainly did feel like it. As I recall, it was a balancing act keeping that thing up there all week but all we wanted is for people to see iRV2 at eye level.

At the display we could show off what iRV2.com could provide for FREE to an RV owner that needed information about 1 issue or another or just simply spend time communicating with other RV'ers for the fun of it. We took the time to walk people through the links and menu options on the website but as I recall, the connections or laptop (perhaps both) at the time were somewhat slow. As the show progressed, we just let the website show up on the monitor and that was pretty much it.

On the table you can see the brochures that were handed out to folks as they would pass by. I believe it was Richard that got the brochures printed up. I also remember meeting Dirk Harrington (Route66), for the first time while we were at this show; Richard made the introductions.

I remember this picture very well; Richard said "I'll pick up this brochure and make like I'm handing it out." You can see the brochure in his hand. We were all enthusiastic about letting people know all about iRV2 and it's something in Richard's life that actually never diminished. Richard always promotes iRV2 and continues to be instrumental in its growth. The amount of time that Richard spends on iRV2 communicating with people and just making people feel welcome is immeasurable.

As far back as I can remember, he has always been there. Richard is one of the most dedicated individuals to this website that I have ever met. During the time that I have known Richard, he is a person who throughout his life demonstrated honesty, a fair demeanor and friendship for all when meeting and dealing with people. I know Richard and I am pleased to call Richard a friend, a colleague and a person that I have long respected and admired.

I expect and hope that Richard will continue to help us through the day to day operation of iRV2 as he can afford the time to do so and that he will continue to be a source of inspiration to us all.

Richard we appreciate you so very much and we hope that your tenure here will be long and that you will continue to share you vision with the iRV2 team and the members that participate in these forums everyday.

We will keep both you and Sylvia in our prayers.
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Old 12-09-2010, 01:38 AM   #9
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I'm very sorry to learn of this news, Richard, but I do hope your medical team is able to provide you with a pain-free quality of life to enjoy with your loved ones. Cherish every moment, as I'm sure you have done and will continue to do.

Thank you for all of your efforts with this site. My company develops forum software similar to this and I'm around many, many forums, big and small... this is by and large one of the greatest, friendliest communities of this nature that I've encountered. Thank you very much for your part in that - you've provided an invaluable resource to many.

I don't know you well, but wish you all of the best and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Take good care of yourself!
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Old 12-09-2010, 05:42 AM   #10
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Our prayers are with you Richard, as well as with your family and friends.
God bless.................................
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Old 12-09-2010, 06:20 AM   #11
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I have been talking to Richard on the phone and swapping PMs and his attitude and spirit has been amazing.

As Driver noted above, it was at the 2003 Tampa show iRV2 display where I first met Richard and Sylvia, and they are wonderful people.

Richard has been the guiding hand here at iRV2 regarding daily forum operations.

His level headed and fair opinions behind the scenes are to be admired.

He is still participating as an Administrator as he is able and we welcome his contributions.

I pray that things go well for him.

May God bless you Richard and Sylvia.
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Old 12-09-2010, 06:58 AM   #12
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Our hearts break with the sadness of this news this morning, but Richard and Sylvia will continue to be...even more fervently...in our thoughts and prayers. We know that he'll face this new challenge with the same determination and distinction that's he's displayed all his life.
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I had the priviledge of meeting Richard on the boards in 2002 and met him in person in 2003 at his National Rally in Nashville, Tennessee. The photos attached were taken at my 2004 National Rally in Boerne, Texas. They are the very essence of Richard "Hitchhiker" Hale.

Photo # 1
Richard is larger than life on our irv2 boards, but he is just an unpretentious "good ole boy". This is my favorite photo!

Photo #2
Never daunted by something he's uncomfortable with...he'll try anything once (even the chicken dance) , learn from the experience and move on!

Photo # 3
The face of a hero

There aren't enough words in the English language to express my deep respect, admiration and adoration of this "gentle giant" of a man. I've told him many times that he is "my hero" - to which he always responded with embarrassment in an "aw shucks" kind of way.

A hero is someone you look up to, to pattern yourself by, to learn from their wisdom and experience ........Richard Hale is one of the finest examples of a hero that I've ever known in my life. He is the very essence of irv2. He's been here from the very beginning to lead the way with dignity, modesty and grace through every "up and down" we've seen along the way.

Richard Hale...........if you're reading this.....you have been, are now and will always be a hero to me. My life has been enriched and blessed through knowing you.

Sandy
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Old 12-09-2010, 07:51 AM   #13
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Debbie and I first met Richard and Sylvia while camping at the Harrisburg Pa. RV show in Sept. 2002. He instantly made us fell welcome and happy to be a part of irv2.com. We saw him again at the Nashville rally in 2003. Still wearing blue jeans!!!!
But the best time was the 2006 rally in Sevierville Tn. The entire country was under a heat wave when we pulled into the campground. The temp was around 102 degrees. I hooked up to the shore power and found I had no A/C!!!!!!!!!! Richard came over with his meter and after alittle while we determined what the problem was and managed to get a guy to come and bring the needed part. The whole time Richard was testing the unit, he had his BLUE JEANS on!!!!!!!!!!! I am in shorts and dying from the heat and there he is in his blue jeans and shirt. I think he must have had a ice pack or something inside of them!!

You have always been a good friend,Richard, and Debbie and I are praying for you.

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Old 12-09-2010, 07:59 AM   #14
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Shelly and I were both saddened today to hear of this news, but we know that you and Silvia will travel this road the way you always have....strong and together.

After countless online exchanges, I remember first meeting Richard in Harrisburg at the RV show, then again at our first rally which was the Nashville Rally in 2003. I'll never forget that morning at the rally. As I pulled up to the registration area in our rig, over the sound of the engine, I heard this booming voice yell out.... "Hey, its Joe K!". Striding over to the rig and extending a hand was Richard and a long-lasting friendship began. Shelly and I always enjoyed spending time with Richard and Silvia at the rallies and a couple other camping excursions as well. It was always a pleasure working together both online and in person on the forums and in person at the rallies.

If was a great time over the years spending time online participating on the forums trying to help others with their questions about their rigs. One of the pleasures of the forum was spending time trying to troubleshoot problems people were having and Richard always participated in those efforts.

Richard....Our prayers are for you and Silvia, and you'll always be in our thoughts.

Joe and Shelly
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