Perfect storm impacts young couple

It has been said, "Into everyone's life a little rain must fall." But when the storm clouds of misfortune gathered over the lives of Brian and Alicia, the atmosphere settled into position to create just the right conditions for the most rare of typhoons to occur &

one so big that seasoned sailors simply call it, "The Perfect Storm."

The cloudburst culminated last month in a 9-1-1 call to Ashland physician Craig Chow, when Brian felt like he was going to explode, literally. That emergency ended with him laying on a table being cut open by a surgeon, who reached inside of Brian and prevented his intestines from bursting.

For any other 26-year-old married father of two toddlers, such a tragic medical circumstance would take quite a psychological toll as well. But Brian had battled this storm for many years.

Soon after meeting and marrying the woman of his dreams, he watched her fall ill while carrying their first child. She survived. Then, it was his turn.

Brian was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo treatments. But this strong, smart young man had dreams to fulfill and wasn't about to let cancer stop him from building a home for his family. He had studied business in college and started his own home-building company with just one employee, himself. He would consistently overcome physical setbacks to meet deadlines while using his extraordinary construction knowledge and skills to provide for his family. Alicia had studied psychology and would need everything she learned to prepare for what the future was about to reveal.

After Alicia recovered and Brian was going through chemotherapy, the couple was informed they would be unable to have any more children. Within a few months of that news, Alicia discovered she was pregnant. The celebration wouldn't last long, however, as a flash flood of medical problems impacted her yet again. After Alicia gave birth and recovered, it was again Brian's turn.

Another type of cancer had attacked Brian's body and the young couple would need the help of family and friends in the Rogue Valley. With Brian unable to work and Alicia taking care of two pre-schoolers and being a nurse to her husband, it seemed the couple's dream of owning their own home had fallen off the radar. Navigating the troubled waters of health care costs in conjunction with the rigors of near-constant physical and mental rehabilitation was taking a terrible toll on them both.

But Brian's determination to overcome his circumstances was strong. The couple was one of the last recipients of a special loan program that enabled them to acquire a piece of land and begin building their modest home. Then Brian was diagnosed with Crohn's disease.

Despite excruciating pain and the loss of more than 40 pounds, he continued to work.

Only those closest to the couple knew of their unique plight. Both Brian and Alicia held fast to their faith. In spite of their circumstances, they continually volunteered at their church. Alicia helped with childcare and special programs while Brian helped build altars and other small projects. But their ability to help others would be undermined by the tragedies impacting their own lives.

Today, Brian is still recovering from his close call with death on the operating table. Alicia is both mother and nurse. Their dream house is only partially built, and remains open to the weather that threatens each day to destroy it. The bank taps its financial fingers, as time ticks quickly toward foreclosure. Meanwhile, the couple has no income.

This incredible story is true. And the opportunity to demonstrate love as a community is real.

Brian and Alicia did everything right. Yet, with every step in the right direction they encountered tragedy. I share the story of this young couple (with their permission) with readers of the Daily Tidings, believing in the goodwill of this community.

Ashland is a unique place where those of us who live and work here understand how fortunate we are. Our community consists of a plethora of people with extraordinary intellect, talent and good fortune. We are also a spiritual community with an understanding of the universal connection we share with others.

None of us can dissipate the clouds that have rained down tragic circumstances upon Brian and Alicia. But we can supply shelter from the storm and help build levees to protect against the flood, enabling this couple to regain their footing and rejoin the journey toward fulfillment of their dreams.

If you would like to learn more or wish to help Brian, Alicia and their two children, contact Vikki Clays at (541) 734-9297 or

is a columnist, author and the Content Editor of the Ashland Daily Tidings. He can be reached at .

Share This Story