Robert had just moved to Houston in 2000 when he found out that cancer was going to claim his mother’s life.
Shirley had been the one who was most there for him when he started his St. Louis Shriners Hospital journey in 1969. She had been the one who told him, when he was old enough to notice the scar on his left hip, that, no, it wasn’t going to go away.
And it was Shirley who reacted with “Oh God, no,” when Robert told her about his new hobby – country line dancing.
“She joked with me, but it was a way to get my mind off the inevitability of Mom’s passing away,” said Robert, now 52, from his Spokane, Washington, home on a brisk winter morning. “I just needed something else to focus on.”
Shirley succumbed to cancer shortly after he told her of his new hobby, but Robert kept dancing. That he could take up such an active pursuit and get so good at it that he would win medals in competitions is something for which he thanks Shriners Hospitals for Children — St. Louis.