This is Keith Kohler. He used to be good friends with my father when they were in high school. When I first met him, he was working at Bordertown selling skateboards. I didn’t get to know him until I was a junior in high school when some of my friends invited me to go to the river. We all became very close and Keith was the person who held us all together. He’d had a rough life and because of that it was easy for him to identify with all of the dilemmas our little dramatic lives encountered. He enjoyed teasing all of us and poking his nose into all of our business, but we always let him haha.
Nobody will really understand the odd friendship we shared unless they were also friends with him. He was always there for people when they needed him and he was never afraid to call anyone out on their bullshit. My dad would always tell me all the crazy stuff he did in high school and I would always laugh and tell him how not much has changed. Keith may have been old enough to be my father, but he was still just a kid in high school at heart.
This man has always been there for me, I have been able to literally tell him everything and he has always listened. He’s seen me cry many times when most people never have. Because of him I have been a stronger person.
Last year someone informed me that he had a brain tumor and that he was going to have it removed. He never told me. I asked him about it and he told me that he felt fine and that they were going to start him on chemotherapy and that they were able to remove it. I saw him maybe 4 or 5 times after he told me that. He seemed to be okay for a man who had just fought cancer. I didn’t think much of it, this is the man that could ride his bike from Yuma to Wellton and back in just a few hours.
I was just recently told that Keith has slipped up since last I saw him. The tumor has started to come back and he is now on hospice care. I went to see him and I honestly don’t know how much longer he will be around. I keep thinking back of all the days me, Garrett, Keith, Joshie, and Daulton spent at the river. Almost every Sunday we would be hanging out. After school I’d go and see him at Johnny Yuma’s and watch and talk as he fixed all kinds of bikes. He would constantly text everyone and send them all kinds of goofy pictures of him riding his bike all over Arizona and California haha. I can’t believe that this is happening. I don’t want to believe it. I can’t even explain how heartbroken I am over this.
If you live in Yuma and you would like to help, there is going to be a fundraiser held at Z Fun Factory this Sunday, March 17. There will be mini golf for $25. This will go to Keith’s girlfriend Cheryl to help with all the costs for taking care of him and his medical bills.
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