There are a lot of organizations in this world that need support and funding. Are you involved in any of them? Here’s one that you can participate in that will make a big difference. This is PJ’s story.
This is a guest blog post from Jordan Calloway from the PJ Aldridge Foundation.
Every 2 1/2 minutes someone is diagnosed with lung cancer and every 3 minutes someone dies from it. Lung cancer receives the least amount of funding for research but yet is the most diagnosed cancer for both men and women. Being told that you have Stage IV lung cancer & only 3 months to live doesn’t give you a confident feeling that you can beat the odds. It doesn’t even seem realistic to someone who has lived a normal life & been extremely healthy throughout it. When you look at the statistics, PJ Aldridge should not be here with us still. Who is PJ you ask? PJ is a giving, sincere, genuine, loving, humble, admired, friend who acts as a breath of fresh air to anyone he is around.
Describing PJ in writing can only really show a mere snapshot of who he really is, if you had 5 minutes with him its guaranteed he’d capture your heart within minutes, actually scratch that, it would be seconds…
Growing up in a cozy, neighborly, beautiful town of St. Mary’s County (AKA: “The County”) and summers at the beach in Ocean City, MD, PJ had the typical storybook childhood. He was everyone’s friend, and the girls adored him. Rumor has it more than half the girls at Great Mills High School had a crush on PJ (although he won’t admit it). The summers at the beach gave him a true passion for surfing. During the school years, PJ would suit up in his wet suit, paddle around in Lewis Creek and run to strengthen his skills on the surf board. He entered any and all surfing contests that he could in Ocean City. While were not positively sure, it’s 98% confirmed PJ won every surfing contest he entered in his senior year of high school.
After graduating from high school, PJ moved to Ocean City where he still resides. At the age of 18, PJ received his real estate license. He attended Salisbury State University, while beginning his career in real estate. Anytime he was not in the classroom he was in the office, and every night was spent serving in restaurants to make ends meet. He allowed himself one day off a week for many years. That one day a week was typically spent on the golf course by day and Seacrets and La Ha with friends at night.
25 years later, PJ is a successful Realtor, his success built on referral, after referral, after referral. Being a real estate agent is not a job it’s a career. He becomes friends with everyone he touches personally and professionally. When asked what he’s passionate about he simply says “Giving”. PJ gives. He gives in so many ways, from being involved in the Big Brother programs, charity events, helping friends and family, with his mom, he attends OC Baptist Church. A book could be written about the way he gives and he does it all because that’s just who he is. The number of friends that love him is unreal, you can’t meet anyone in Ocean City or “the county” that doesn’t at least know of him and the kind words describing him will always bring a tear or a chill down the spine. Family is so important to PJ. All of the Aldridge families are close, true, loving and admired by many.
The perfect picture of a great guy with a fabulous life is being painted, right? Imagine a car coming to a screeching halt, a plane crashing, and an explosion. That’s truly the best way to describe what happens next…
While vacationing in Costa Rica in February of 2010, PJ noticed one morning paddling out to surf breathing was hard, he shrugged it off as maybe he was catching a cold. That evening, in the middle of the night, he woke up, he couldn’t breath. His friend visiting with him had him on the next flight to CIMA Hospital in San Jose. On the plane, he couldn’t breath. He recalls thinking he wouldn’t make the flight from Tamarindo to San Jose. Much of the next few days at CIMA hospital are a blur. PJ went through surgery and biopsies. He awoke after surgery to see his friends Will and Blaine. A conversation recalled, PJ said to Will, “It’s bad isn’t it?” Will replied, “Yes, PJ it is.”
When PJ was stabilized, he was flown to University of Maryland Medical Hospital. CIMA Hospital and Dr. Elderman of UMMH, confirmed, PJ has Lung Cancer. Stage IV. The prognosis – not good, but he has beaten the time lines already. PJ wants to kick this, his family and friends are joining forces with every ounce of love and “mojo” we have to help him win the battle of lung cancer.
Our foundation has grown thanks to people just like you! We are proud to say that in June of 2011 we were able to donate $150,000 to research – but that’s just the start! We are demanding change in research and awareness. We love PJ.
Please join our team. We need you! We CAN find a cure…and we WILL.
Pictures courtesy of PJAF.