Fast forward from the '90's to 2005. I remember this timing distinctly because Lisa's health was deteriorating, and so was Craig's first marriage. He called upon Chris in the middle of the night on several occasions, and it was at this time when he was really starting to have noticeable side effects from benign tumors in his back that had plagued him with back pain for quite some time. Initially, we all wrote it off to the endless hours of driving that Craig put in as a salesman for a company based in Seattle. But eventually, when his left leg started to go numb, well, it started to seem a little more serious. In April of 2006, Craig joined us for Team Lisa. He had a distinct limp by this time, and was definitely experiencing more issues with his back.
Within the next couple of years, so much happened for Craig. He got remarried, moved to Seattle for a year, and then moved back in summer of 2009. By that July, Craig could no longer walk on his own, and had to be in a wheelchair. The tumors in his spine were no longer benign. He had been diagnosed with peripheral nerve sheath sarcoma, a devastating cancer that had taken his legs away, and was beginning to take away feeling in his hands/arms too.
As all of us did what we could to help out Craig and his family, I wrestled with what I felt was unspoken for a time. No one was saying that Craig was getting worse, fast. Unfortunately, when you've seen this kind of thing before, the picture is a little clearer. And so, without asking anyone's permission, I went through the list of Bronco soccer alum who played with Craig, and I sent out an e-mail explaining how sick I felt Craig was, and that I thought it would be great if everyone could gather in Spokane to rally around him. Here's what happened next:
|Yes, that's former national team and SCU coach, Steve Sampson, along with Broughton, Madsen, Hampton, M. Rast, C. Rast, Rueda, Gallo, Yamamoto and Robertson....the first of about 20 guys who flew in from all over the country to be with Craig.|
Craig's journey ended a year ago today, on January 29, 2010. Chris and I had been with him at Hospice House around 10 p.m. the evening before. Craig allowed the two of us to stand on each side of him. We each held one of his hands, and pressed in close, holding him and telling him how proud we were to be his friend. We kissed him on the forehead and told him it was time for us to go. Craig had told his Dad that evening that it was "time to go". Four hours later, Craig passed away.
On the year anniversary of his passing, I am praying for those closest to him. His parents, his wife Kristina, and his girls. Craig Dean Hampton, aka, "Ba-bone, bone, bone, bone!", may you rest in peace. We all loved you dearly.