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Remembering Patrick Swayze

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When the movie "Dirty Dancing" was released, I was young and just beginning high school. My friends and I were obsessed with the movie. I especially remember watching the dance rehearsal scenes repeatedly. I remember “Johnny” (Patrick Swayze’s character) as he moved on screen, perfectly and effortlessly. I would watch the way his bare, sculpted back moved and flexed as he danced. His perfect smooth skin glistened with sweat and I longed to be “Baby’s” character with those strong arms holding me. I almost wore out our rewind button on the VCR because of this movie.

In "Dirty Dancing" the storyline was simple and the characters were complex. “Johnny” was a gorgeous, rebel, heartbreaker type. He was strong, secretly sensitive and stood up for his girl at the end. (Who doesn’t remember their heart beating with intensity when his deep voice announced, “Nobody puts Baby in the corner!”) It was movie magic and I fell for every minute of it.

Although he is well known for his roles in many movies (my favorites include "Ghost", "The Outsiders", and "Red Dawn"), "Dirty Dancing" will always top my list. It came out when I was just beginning to see boys as men. I indeed hoped that one day I would dance with a man like him.

And I was saddened by the news that Patrick Swayze died yesterday of pancreatic cancer.

"The pancreas is a long, flat gland that lies in the abdomen behind the stomach. It produces enzymes that aid digestion and certain hormones that help maintain the proper level of blood sugar.

The American Cancer Society estimates that in the U.S. in 2009, there will be 42,470 people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and 35,420 deaths from pancreatic cancer, making it the nation's fourth leading cause of cancer death overall.

Unlike other cancers, there is no screening test for pancreatic cancer. There are also no symptoms until the cancer has begun to spread, which accounts for the cancer's dismal survival rate.” (webmd.com)

He continued to work on his television series, The Beast, even after he was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer in March 2008. I applaud the awareness that he raised with this disease and am thankful that he shared his talent with the world.

My heart and prayers go out to his wife, friends and family. It is certain that he will be missed by his fans, in addition to those who knew and loved him. He truly was a man that was not dying of cancer but living with cancer.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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