It was 2002 when Raymond Wentz first visited Dr. Schrier, suffering from night sweats, fever and weight loss. Ray was quickly diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and started chemotherapy. At only 17-years-old, Ray was a special case. His mother had passed away, his father lived on the streets, and he and his sister struggled to pay rent for their apartment—students at Sheridan High School working at King Soopers to pay the bills and buy groceries.
Ray always had the brightest smile on his face and never complained.
One morning, after months of treatment, Ray called the doctor’s office with a 103-degree fever. Despite nurse’s orders to come in immediately, Ray didn’t arrive until 4pm—pale, weak and still running a high fever. When pressed by the nurse why he hadn’t come in right away, he simply replied, “I did. I had to ride my bike.”
Ray was admitted to the hospital and seen by multiple specialists over the course of a 60-day stay. It was apparent that Ray wasn’t suffering from an infection or complication of chemotherapy; unfortunately he was experiencing progression of his cancer. It was at this point Dr. Schrier met with Ray’s 19-year-old sister, Michelle, about Ray nearing the end of life. With the same grace her brother showed throughout life, Michelle responded, “I want to take him home.” Dr. Schrier looked around the room at the numerous IV poles and at 76-pound Ray and asked, “Are you sure you can handle this?”
Michelle replied, “Yes. The only thing we have to worry about is food.”
Those words both haunted and motivated Dr. Schrier. He was moved to create the Foundation and make a difference in the lives of needy cancer patients throughout Colorado. We are proud to be named for Ray—a courageous teenager who inspired those around him with his bravery and grace. The work we do today allows his positivity and light to shine on.