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Family honors Struthers coach's last wish with foundation



Published: Fri, November 29, 2013 @ 12:08 a.m.

By EMMALEE C. TORISK

etorisk@vindy.com

STRUTHERS

Even in the last days of his life, Scott Raybuck was still thinking of others.

“He said, ‘I never want people to go through what we’re going through,’” said Molly Raybuck, his eldest daughter.

So when he wasn’t planning his funeral, all the way from songs to pallbearers, he began laying the groundwork for what would become “It’s a Great Day to be Alive,” or the Scott Raybuck Foundation. His wish was to start a foundation for others who’d been diagnosed with colon cancer, as he had been just a year and eight months earlier, and also to raise awareness about the deadly, but preventable, disease.

After all, Scott hadn’t shown any symptoms. He was lethargic, didn’t want to eat, and had a persistent cold that wouldn’t go away, but doctors attributed those signs at first to bronchitis, then to pneumonia.

A few months later, on March 15, 2012, he was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer, which had metastasized to his liver. By the time hospice came into the Raybuck home just a few weeks ago, Scott was told he had one month to live.

It ended up being one week.

He died Nov. 16, at the age of 57. Among those he left behind were Molly and Megan Raybuck, his two daughters, and Pam Raybuck, his middle-school sweetheart and wife of 34 years.

Pam, who met her late husband when she was 13 years old, said that he was the most optimistic person that she’s ever met. Nothing ever brought him down, she said, adding that she often thought if anyone could beat cancer with a positive attitude, it would be Scott.

Even in the midst of treatment, she added, he remained grateful for all that he’d been blessed with in his life.

“We were in the cancer ward,” Pam recalled, “and he said, ‘I can’t complain. I’ve had 56 good years. There are children here who are afflicted with cancer, who may not see their 10th birthday.’”

Molly, too, remembered her father being very sick near the end, but never ceasing to look on the bright side of things. He died with dignity, she said, not “kicking and screaming, feeling bad for himself, or mad at the world.”

She added that though he loved many things — the Boston Red Sox, coaching softball, Elmton pizza — he most loved “waking up every single day and living his life.” It was something that he tried his best to pass down to his daughters.

“He always would tell us, ‘It’s just a great day to be alive,’” Molly said. “Some days, I wake up and say, ‘This is a terrible day.’ But he never, ever thought like that.”

Both Molly and Pam noted that he wanted the foundation to be named after one of his favorite sayings, and that his mission was to reach out to as many people as possible, in an attempt to prevent them from enduring what he did.

While he was sick, Pam remembers, he would ask “anybody and everybody he spoke to, ‘Have you had a colonoscopy? You need to get a colonoscopy.’”

It was one of the first things he asked them, and it worked.

His persistent bugging led many of his friends and family members to finally submit to the test — a test that might have prevented his own diagnosis.

“Colon cancer is the most-preventable, yet least-prevented, cancer,” Molly said. “He wanted to focus on prevention and educate people, and also touch people [suffering from colon cancer] individually. He was so kind, always looking to give back and putting other people first.”

Donations to “It’s a Great Day to be Alive,” or the Scott Raybuck Foundation, are being accepted at any Chase Bank branch under the foundation name or reference number, 985865039.

For more information about the foundation and its work, visit http://www.itsagreatdaytobealive.org.


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