In memory of our Friend Bob
October 20, 2020
Robert (Bob) Will was a passionate volunteer and community member with a deep desire to give back to Medicine Hat. Bob was a big guy with a big personality and an even bigger heart. Sherry Yeske, Bob’s wife, describes him as “The epitome of the extrovert. [He was] very outgoing. He loved to be the big colourful person, both physically and personality-wise. He’d be the guy wearing red pants and a blue plaid shirt.”
Bob was involved with a variety of volunteer and fundraising initiatives over the years. He was the type of person who saw a need and stepped up to do something about it. Men’s Health was one of those places he saw a need. His boundless energy, community-mindedness, and natural flair for connection brought him into contact with Chris Hellman, and together they put together a team to organize the first Plaid for Dad tournament in Medicine Hat. Plaid For Dad is a national non-profit which raises money for prostate cancer research. After hosting several successful events, Bob came up with a new idea: why not raise awareness for men’s health AND keep the money local. He reached out to the Health Foundation and began partnering with us in order to achieve that dream. The first project in line with this vision was the Pants Off Fore Men’s Health Gala.
Sadly, there was bad news coming for Bob. In May 2019, after returning home from a family vacation, Bob noticed a lump in his neck. Bob was diagnosed with anaplastic thyroid cancer, a rare and aggressive form of cancer with a median lifespan of just six months. The lump grew rapidly and he underwent surgery followed by radiation and chemo.
That didn’t stop Bob, though. Despite recovering from surgery and still undergoing chemo treatment, Bob was as determined as ever to pull the Gala together; he tackled this next challenge with the energy and drive he was famous for. When the night of the Gala arrived, despite a tube coming out of his neck and being bald from chemo, he dove into the evening’s events with signature Bob enthusiasm: a giant ear-to-ear smile, a ridiculous outfit, and a big laugh. He was filled with immense pride for himself, for his team, and especially for the community.
On Tuesday, December 10th, 2019, surrounded by his family, and with his soul mate, Sherry, by his side, Bob passed away from his illness. He left behind a huge hole in the Medicine Hat community, but his enthusiasm and passion continue to inspire us. This September, the remaining committee members rallied to produce the Teeing Off Fore Men’s Health Golf Tournament, and boy would Bob have been proud. Thanks to the generosity of our donors and the Yuill Family Foundation, we were able to raise $15,000 for men’s health. And just as Bob wanted, every dime will stay local.
At the Health Foundation, we are eternally grateful for the passion and vision Bob brought to the table. He left a mark on our hearts and minds, and we are excited and proud to continue bringing his vision to life.