The Wings of Hope Memorial Golf Tournament is pleased to announce the 2017 Tributes are David Tramontana and Walter Kropkowski.
Walter is a 70-year old Baltimore Native, who grew up in Highlandtown with his two brothers and four sisters. He met the love of his life, Sandra when he was only 16 years old. Three years later, they married and started their life together. They raised two daughters in a waterfront home in Sparrows Point. He served in the Navy during Vietnam and worked as an electrical engineer for Bethlehem Steel for over 45 years. Walt and Sandy recently retired to Myrtle Beach, SC in April 2016 and celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary in February 2017.
Walt is the proud father of two daughters, Stacy Perouty and Jennifer Kelley. Stacy lives in Houston, TX with her husband of 26 years, John and their two children. Alexandra (23) is in her 3rd year of Pharmacy school at Texas A&M and Ryan (18) will begin his freshman year at Virginia Military Institute (studying dentistry and playing D1 lacrosse) this fall.
Jenny lives in Havre de Grace, MD with her husband of 15 years, Brian and their three children. Caroline (13) enjoys dancing with E-Street Dance Academy, Meredith (11) competes with ACPR Gymnastics and Walt’s youngest grandchild, Emerson (4) can bring smiles and laughter to anyone who meets her. Brian and Jenny co-founded Wings of Hope after the loss of Brian’s mother Barb to rectal cancer in 2010.
In May 2017, after a few months of a winter cough that wouldn’t quit, Walt asked for a chest x-ray. A 5-inch tumor in his right lung and a small nodule in his left lung were discovered, diagnosing Walt with lung cancer. This was the beginning of a very scary roller coaster ride. In early June, after a bronchoscopy to biopsy the tumor, Walt began hemorrhaging. This escalated in mid-June, at which time he was intubated and a procedure to cauterize the bleed took place. He was in and out of the ICU for 3 weeks before the situation was under control.
In July, the tumor continued to grow into the walls of his heart, causing him to go in and out of atrial fibulation and flutter with multiple visits to the ER and ICU. On July 10th, right before Walt was due to start radiation treatment, he suffered a stroke. At this time, he was told that the cancer had spread to his brain. Everyone was devastated. Luckily, he was able to start in-patient radiation simultaneously on his brain and chest. Sandy and Walt are now living during the week at the Hope Lodge at the Medical University of SC, while he finishes radiation. They are thankful for the care and support they are receiving there. At the end of August, Walt will begin chemotherapy.
Prior to the cancer diagnosis, Walt was an active man who loved to boat, played golf three times per week and is a chef at heart – loving to host dinner parties and gatherings. He and Sandy enjoyed multiple vacations a year, especially loving their Mexican timeshare – snorkeling, soaking in the sun and dancing the night away. They also cherished time with family, friends and their children and grandchildren – never missing a special event or celebration.
Walt says, “I have never felt so scared, this has all happened so fast, but I’m holding out for a miracle. Some days aren’t good, and I feel sad because I can’t do the things I love. But I try to find happiness in the little things…dinner with friends, daily phone calls with Stacy and Jenny, watching a favorite movie or sitting on the porch with Sandy enjoying our home and talking about our wonderful life together. What a life it has been! I will beat this…there is no other choice. I still have too much to do and many more memories to make. There are so many people who I love and who love me. I am not done with this life, I will fight for more time with them and for me!”
You can help Wings of Hope support this tremendously brave man in his fight against cancer. Join us at our 7th Annual Event on Friday, September 15th by participating in the golf tournament or attending the banquet. If you can’t attend, you can still help by donating. Together, we can make a difference “Uniting Families Impacted by Cancer!” Register or donate today. http://wingsofhopeevents.com/events