THE LAST HUG
A journey to hell and back
The Last Hug is a detailed memoir about fathers and grandfathers who have lost a child. Read about their story and follow their journey with grief. The Last Hug follows The Last Kiss, only this time written from a father or grandfather's view.
Mike is the father to Rylan Pruitt, a Medullamyoblastoma, warrior, who won his fight
against cancer March 10, 2022. Rylan was the 51st known case in the US with this diagnosis. Rylan completed 6 weeks of proton therapy radiation and 4 months of chemo before winning his battle March 10th 2022. Following the loss of Rylan, Mike founded the Rylan Strong Network, dedicated to fighting Childhood Cancer, one child at a time. The network aims to support children and their families, bring awareness to childhood cancer, and enact legislation to help families with the enormous cost of treatment. Outside of the Network, Mike is an avid car and motorcycle junkie and rides proudly with the Servant Souls in North Texas. Mike is happily married to Lexi Pruitt, and proud father to Travis Pruitt, Rylan's older brother.
Hello, thank you to anyone who would want to spend their valuable time reading this. My
name is Brandon Price and I live in New Berlin, WI with my wife, Lisa, and our son, Chase. We also have a daughter, Ari Harper, who died from Trisomy 13 (henceforth why I'm writing this) in 2017. I work for Foam It Green, a local spray insulation company, where I'm responsible for order fulfillment and getting product out the door. In my free time, I enjoy coaching our son's select baseball team, working out, and running. Running was somewhat therapeutic after the loss of Ari and a way for me to clear my mind and release my frustration and negative energy I had built up from this traumatic experience.
My name is Nicholas Dison. My son's name is Matthew. He was born August 25,2002 in
Minden, LA. From the moment he was born we knew something was wrong. Within 45 minutes me and him were sitting at Willis Knight in NICU unit. Doctors from all over were examining him to determine who was born with what looked like bruises all over his body. At 12 days old we made the trip to St.Jude. he was diagnosed with both AML and ALL Leukemia. At that time it was rare to be born with it and also rare to have both types. They had only seen 10 cases before his time and his was different from those. Matthew underwent chemo for both types. It wasn't working. So they decided to do the stem cell transplant. I was his donor for that. Unfortunately the chemo to do that was too hard on his tiny body. The transplantwas working but his liver shut down and they couldn't get it back working. We lost him on Feb 9,2003 at 5 ½ months.
Ian lives on a homestead in Southern PA with his wife, Leigh-Anna, and two surviving sons. Tannen was diagnosed shortly after COVID hit with Acute Megakaryoblastic Leukemia (AMKL) and battled for nearly two years and passed shortly before his baby brother was born. During this time, Tannen’s family moved into a camper to be close to the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Ian and his family enjoy family time in the form of hiking,
swimming, and pulling the couches together for a movie night. Ian and Leigh-Anna also
work for a provider that offers services to adults with autism and IDD diagnoses.
“Two boys here and one in heaven watching over us, cuz Lord knows, I need all the help I can get.” -- Joe Dominguez, father of three boys, shares his journey through grief after the loss of his middle son, just a few days before he was supposed to be born. His journey has waves of darkness, brightness, and every color in between. Joe and his wife Sarah continue to work with families in the Milwaukee Wisconsin area that have suffered pregnancy and infant loss, in hopes to make their journeys just a little bit softer.
Jason is a father to many, having kids from family placements, foster kids, biological kids, step kids, and adopted kids. Although, they all have differing biological contributors he considers all of them to be family in the most real sense of the word. In 2015 he lost his daughter to a nasty, rare disease called HLH. Arissa was 17 when she was diagnosed and fought for 9 months before losing her battle. It was a journey of grief made more difficult by family members and addiction issues. At the end of the day, Arissa called him Daddy and he called her his first little girl. Their journey was one that was riddled with grief and struggles, but eventually he learned how to walk through the
fires of his own personal hell and see the beauty of life after tragedy.
My Name is Mark Pearson from Queens, NY. I am married and have been blessed with three amazing children (Kyle, Brooke and Paige). I love being a husband, father and leader - stepping up to lend a hand no matter where or when. I am the one that people often turn to fix their computers, cars and even talk about Medical issues because I enjoy figuring things out. Our Angel girl, Brooke Amanda, was very similar to me - we talked through issues she was facing and we were always laughing - heck our whole family is bunch of silly nuts. Brooke and I developed a very strong bond over the years. She loved life, and brought smiles to everyone around her. She also advocated and offered help to others, especially when they didn’t ask but clearly needed her help. Brooke was 14 years old when hugged one last time.