Don Robertson was a fighter. But after an 18-year-long battle with cancer, Robertson, the owner of Elliott Row Men’s Wear died this weekend.
Robertson was honoured last night before the Penticton Vees home game. Robertson was a generous Vees supporter.
“Don generously kept the Vees looking good off the ice with the Vees player of the month program, and many other initiatives throughout the community,” reads the Vees’ elegy to Robertson.
The Western News interviewed Robertson in 2014, discussing his battle with a very rare form of cancer called gastrointestinal stromal tumour or GIST.
Related: Cancer battle a family affair
“I’ve had time to come to terms with my life and there are even times now when I think I’m the luckiest guy on Earth and that’s the attitude I’ve decided to take,” said Robertson at the time. “I’m very lucky in that I have a story to tell and I’m still around to tell it because there are a lot of people who are not around.”
Robertson told his story often, sharing with other cancer patients. Believed to be the world’s longest known survivor of GIST, Robertson offered hope to others, though his own battle was becoming harder.
According to a post on the Elliott Row Facebook page, it was in 2014 that Robertson was told his current medication was no longer working and that he would need to look into another avenue of medicine, coming after 15 years of multiple chemotherapy treatments, radiation, and 10 surgeries.
“Although Don’s positivity and determination to fight never diminished, he was told in June of 2016 that he would only have six months to a year to live. Don still broke all odds by making it through the summer of 2017 with joy and happiness. His final days in October were spent with his loved ones, not dwelling, but laughing and loving. Don has now moved on to a place with no pain, only peace,” the post continues.
Related: Elliott Row on Facebook
Robertson is survived by his wife Lori, and two sons, Matt and Brandon.
A final thought from Robertson’s 2014 interview:
“A lot of people have terrible things in their lives and not cancer so any story that can give people something positive to hang onto is important. It kicks the living daylights out of me but I have a wonderful life.”