My junior year of high school I ran for student body president at Parowan High. As tradition would have it, I spent a week campaigning with the blue party and working toward Friday’s assembly where speeches and seconding speeches would be delivered.
It was my responsibility to find a student willing to give a seconding speech for me. I remember sitting home with my dad after school that week and discussing my options. My dad told me I needed to find someone who could reach the kids I couldn’t reach on my own. Someone good, well-liked, on a sport’s team, and could get the audience’s attention and keep it. His suggestion? Jake Topham.
Jake and I weren’t close friends at the time, but he was always nice. Trusting my dad, I asked Jake to give my seconding speech. He agreed.
Jake managed to get the entire student body to follow along as he recited my name in preparation for the polls. (I took the L, but I don’t attribute that to Jake’s efforts.) Days after the election was over, people still talked about his speech.
My mom recorded it. Who would have thought it would turn into one of my most prized possessions.
In March this year Jake and I went to a Pat Benatar concert with our Topham family. The tickets were a gift from Maggie and Dave. Donning matching Pat shirts, we loudly sang along to, “Hit Me With Your Best Shot!” Throughout the show a few people in the audience tried to get that lighter effect going in the stadium. They turned on their phone flashlights and raised their arms high swaying back and forth to the music. It didn’t catch on until Jake got involved. We were sitting in seats on the floor of the stadium. The stands behind us were filled with people. Jake took out his phone, turned on the light and held the light backwards above his head so it faced everyone in the stands. He began to wave his arm back and forth to the music. Those behind us who could see the light quickly caught on. Hundreds of flashlights lit up, led by Jake.
It was incredible to watch, but I wasn’t surprised. Jake does that everywhere he goes. He still does.
Today was another chemo day! We’re starting to get into a nice routine. Every other Wednesday, chemo eve, we go on a little date and then make sure the house is clean. We do a little grocery shopping and pack a chemo bag. Jake swears that chemo makes him crave Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. We have 9 more doses to go. His counts are looking great!
A cute nurse came in to take Jake’s vitals. Everything looked perfect. In fact, she said, “I don’t know why you’re even here!” and winked at us. The doctor went over Jake’s labs with us. She had little graphs covering all of Jake’s levels. Everything that is supposed to go up is going up and everything that is supposed to go down is going down. Miracle after miracle.
I think about Jake and his backward flashlight often, clearly showing those watching behind him the way to being as happy as him.
I asked him what he would like his fans to know. He laughed and said, “Tell everybody I love them.” He does. We do! That must be why we’re so happy.
My name is Maddie Townsend Topham and I am a happy wife!