Scott Paulk Sr. was a simple man. A loving son, the youngest brother of three, husband, father, poppy and uncle. He spent the majority of his life employed by the City of Clearwater as a supervisor in the parks and recreation department. Many of his co-workers were family to him. He always had a desire to help and lead others, make them laugh, and was never afraid to just be himself. Life was not always easy, but he gave all he had to his family and those in need. He was humble and generous, unless it came down to a discussion about one of his sporting teams or political opinions, then all bets were off!
In 2003, Scott’s father, Donald Paulk, was diagnosed with cancer and his prognosis was poor, given only 6 months to live. Watching his father’s body and mind transform from this disease was infuriating, discouraging, and incomprehensible. After his passing, it was then that the pain Scott had in his back demanded answers. After a series of tests, Scott David Paulk Sr., was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. A port was placed in his chest and after hard discussions with his family he decided to take the cancer head on. He underwent intensive chemotherapy and radiation treatment for two years, which yielded positive results in that the cancer had gone into remission. Seven years later, in 2011, Scott’s medical report showed the dreaded ‘C’ word had returned. Unfortunately this time, it was much more severe. The next three years of our family’s life proved to be an uphill battle. In fact, it is almost impossible to put in words the emotional trials we faced during this especially difficult time. Due to his body’s response to the last chemotherapy treatment, his body could not tolerate that level of intensity due to the condition the chemotherapy had left his heart function. The recommendation was bone marrow extraction and then a stem cell transplant.
Scott was admitted into Moffitt Cancer Center where he spent time undergoing an autologous stem cell transplant. As a result, our family was overwhelmed with costly medical bills and nearly lost our home. Thankfully, we were blessed by loved ones, who without even asking, came together and donated enough money to help cover hospital and treatment costs. Another incredible blessing came by way of our bank, the City of Clearwater Employee’s Credit Union, who postponed the collection of our mortgage payment so we were able to keep our home. There were an uncountable number of times when we did not know where the money would come from to pay bills or buy groceries, but God blessed us with amazing family, friends, and co-workers who always helped us to pull through. For a short period of time the transplant seemed to be a success, however after a third recurrence, the doctors were virtually out of options. As a last resort, Scott received a trial chemotherapy treatment that required him to spend three to four days a week at the doctor’s office. It was at this point his health slowly began to deteriorate.
Scott was a fighter. He was a man who would graciously give to others. His headstrong personality never allowed people to see him down. It did not matter if he was in the chemo room or at the store, he could always be seen with a huge smile on his face. In fact, he never failed to squeeze a laugh out of everyone around him. Even throughout his very last days, he stayed true to his character. He would even try to provide hope to others in the chemotherapy treatments or simply make them smile with one of his silly actions or statements.
On September 14th, 2014, after spending days in the hospital, Scott lost his battle with cancer in the comfort of his own home and went on to be with the Lord. The news came as a surprise to his doctors as he had been ruthlessly fighting the condition for so long. It was God’s plan, however, to call him home and eternally provide complete healing. The bible says it best in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
Shortly after Scott’s passing, the Let Me Live Foundation, Inc. was created in order to lift up and give back to those like Scott who are fighting a similar battle. It is our hope to lend a loving hand to their families who have made numerous sacrifices to serve as a support system through each and every step. When we all come together for a greater cause, extraordinary things can happen and this is what we are believing for this foundation. It is what Scott wanted, for people with cancer to find a way to LIVE, without losing themselves completely to the cancer. Please help the Let Me Live Foundation change lives by providing a sense of hope, faith, and strength to fight another day.
In loving memory of Scott David Paulk Sr., a great husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend. We all look forward to laughing at your jokes and seeing that contagious smile again some day.