An Open Letter

Dear Travis –

Well.  You made it.  While we are not at all surprised, some of us wonder if you are a tad bit?  After all, you asked several of us over the past year, “what’s the “over/under” on making it to 39?”

Just how many bets do you have to pay up on?

A year ago tonight you were sitting with family and friends as we celebrated your birthday.  There was nervous laughter, awkward moments of silence, and prayer.  We didn’t know yet.  We knew there was something but we were hoping, against all odds, it was just a random infection.  A benign tumor.  A fatty cyst.  Anything but…..cancer.

In less than 12 hours you would find out it was….

Since that day, that fateful day, we have watched you in admiration.  We have watched you grow, help others, love, learn, forgive, chase after Jesus…

We have watched you…change.

You have not walked this road perfectly but there is no expectation for perfection.  Only growth.  And we have seen plenty of that.

We have seen you grow in ways that have caused us to whisper behind your back, “did he just say that?”  “did he just do that?” “was that Travis?!?”  

You have shocked us. Inspired us. Taught us. And, of course, made us laugh…even in the most inappropriate of moments as only you can do.

Watching you over the past year has been a humbling experience.  It has inspired many of us to live. You have shown us how to love. And for many of us…because of you…we have found our way back to church. Back to God.

A friend, one of us, once said you were a “modern day Paul”.  As you sit at Buckhead Church on Sunday morning, taking up two rows with your “army”, that comment comes to life.  Leading others to Christ even as you wrestle with Him yourself.

And so, after a year of giving us so much, more than we could have ever asked, we have one more request.

Keep fighting.

A silly request, we know, because it’s asking you to do what you do.  What you have always done.  But still, we are asking you for it anyway because we want you to know how important it is…to us.

You have plenty of reasons to fight…

Your beautiful wife. Your high school sweetheart.  The girl who would be lost without you.

Your oldest boy.  Your clone. The mini Trav.  The boy who looks up to you like none other.  The one who adores you.

Your precious girl. Your angel. The one who wants your “chemo” to go away. The one who wants her daddy to walk her down the aisle some day.

Your baby.  The one who sings “The Daddy Song”. “The Daddy Song” that expresses how much he loves you already…at only 3 years old.

Amazing reasons to fight.

But we have one more.  Clearly not as an important as these others but worth mentioning nonetheless.

Fight for us.

We are not done learning. Our faith is not done being stretched by watching you walk this journey.  And the only way for faith to grow…is to be stretched.

There are so many more of us to reach. That only you, in your special way, can reach.

So when you are tired.  When you are understandably done with feeling sick…being poked, prodded, and cut open…and you are going through your list of reasons for fighting.  Think of us.

Because the world we live in needs a modern day Paul. The world needs you.

So with that…there is only one question left…

What’s the over/under on making it to 40?

We’ll take that bet.





12 responses to “An Open Letter

  • Kelly

    Beautifully written and wonderfully said!! I can’t even imagine this world without you, Lee! You are an amazing person in every way and you and Care inspire us daily!! We love you and ask that you keep fighting!!!! Saying prayers upon prayers!!!!! Kel

  • Kay Pigg

    Amen to all of that!

  • Anonymous

    Your birthday is a blessing. As I’ve read and prayed over you as I have read each post, I see that God has used this year for you to reach, teach and inspire so many. My prayer for you tonight isa year of healing. So many people love you and need you!!! My prayers continue for you, Carrie and your precious family. God bless you, Sandy Kicklighter

  • Felicia Conwell, Kaiser Permenente

    I am in tears as I read this message, because it is so true. I will never for get the day Travis as me “what church do you go to.” My response was I don’t go to church. If you could have saw the look of shock on his face. Then I had to explain to him the reason why I stopped going to church. As a child growing up the church took care of the community and the community took care of the church. I have experience that now days if you are not a member of a church, you can’t seek help from some churches and that’s not the way God intended for the church to be ran. Today’s churches are more like a businesses and my spirit hasn’t lead me to go back to a church. That’s when he said “come go to church with me one Sunday, I guarantee you will love it.” I was a little fearful because I didn’t want to say ok and didn’t know what I was walking into. So I stepped out on faith and said “ok I’ll go and I’m going to bring a friend with me.” Travis responded that’s fine I’ll pick you up. In the back of my head I was thinking he’s going to make sure I don’t back out and I didn’t. That was two months ago and I’m still going strong. I said all this just to say Thank You, Travis. Although I knew the Lord and His word. I had taken my eye off the prize and looked at man, which pushed me away from the church. But because you, yes you, Travis took a leap of faith and invited me to join you and your family at The Buckhead Church, I realized how much I missed having fellowship with others. You are my modern day Paul. I truly believe that if each one, could reach one, as we follow after Christ, we all could lead one to the Savior. This is how we will show the world that Christ is the way, but we have to be willing to lead just one. Travis, you have lead so many of us to and back to Christ and I’m proud to say I am one of those people. Not only did I gain a friend, I also gained a few brothers, sisters, and the Roberts Family as my family in Christ. Thank you, for leading me back to the light of Christ. My prayers are with you always.

    PS: Carrie, you are one of the most amazing women I know and I’m so glad to have you not only as a friend, but also a sister in Christ. I love you, guys.

    Kristina Gansser, I want to get in on the bet, because I know we serve a mighty God and He hasn’t failed us yet. I look forward to celebrating Travis 40th Birthday next year!!!!!!!

  • Tracy S

    So beautifully written!! Happiest of birthdays to you Trav! Continue to fight! We are behind you all the way!! Love to you and Carrie!

  • Vicki and Walt Gansser

    What wonderful words to read on your special day Travis. We know you are a fighter. Hopefully, all of your strength and support keeps you a step ahead. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! LOL

  • Andres Beltran

    Since the day I met you at the regional conference our company was holding at the Marriott (there in Atlanta) earlier this year and you shared your story in front of that super large crowd, I have felt compelled to keep up with your story and the overall progress. I often have you and your beautiful family in mind and periodically pray for a complete recovery. You are truly an inspiration to many of us in our walk of faith. I am confident, faithful and will continue praying that you not only will reach 40 and many years after. And yes – keep fighting!!!

  • Darlene Cokley



  • Molly

    My first Concrete Faith read since giving up FB for Lent: Beautifully written and oh so happy to see Travis celebrating 39! Since I NEVER cheated by checking FB, I asked David every day to give me a little update on Travis and Carrie, the only thing regarding FB that I cared about. Praise God for that year of success and praying for more to come.

  • Autoimmune allie

    Hi Travis. I am a reporter at Athens Banner-Herald and heard about your journey. Would love to sit down with you for a feature article to run in an upcoming Health section. You can reach me at or call me at (706) 208-2232 to set up a good time for an interview. I look forward to hearing from you.
    Allie Jackson

  • Anonymous

    Travis, you are a great inspiration to so many and especially me. Thank you for teaching us the meaning, of love, caring, determination and life. God Bless.
    Richard Tyre


    Spot on with this write-up, I truly believe this web-site needs much more consideration. I’ll likely be again to read much more, thanks for that information.

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