Its an unhappy day here in Tucson.  Its Father's Day and mine is no longer here to enjoy it.  Covid-19 is ravaging the state, Arizona is currently number 7 with a bullet on the Covid Top 50 hit parade.  Closer to home, the Bighorn Fire is rapidly converting the Catalina mountains north of the city into a 50,000+ acre weenie roast, I'm sitting here in horror watching the fire do its best to consume the Radio Ridge portion of Mt. Lemmon.  If all that weren't enough, I've just learned that fellow MVP-turned-Microsoft-FTE Chris "Smitty" Smith is in the fight of his life with lung cancer.

For those of you who don't know Smitty, I offer these words written by another good friend, Excel MVP Roger Govier:

Hi Everyone
I realize that not everyone uses social media, so some may not be aware of a recent posting on Facebook by Smitty’s wife, Cyndi.

On 19th June, Cyndi posted

We don't have much time left with Smitty
(Chris Smith). Hospice starts tomorrow.
Want to send him a card?

Cards, letters, memories, pictures, and whatever else you want to send would mean a lot to him.
This is a public address that can be posted and shared:

Chris "Smitty" Smith
704 228th Ave. NE #843
Sammamish, WA 98074

For those of you who may not be aware of what the situation has been over these past three years, and for those of you on the program who perhaps don’t know who Smitty is, I include this summary of what has happened to him. Apologies if some of the dates or facts are incorrect.

Smitty was a superb Excel MVP who joined the program before me. He was one of the first MVP’s I met in the flesh in the lounge of the downtown Westin Hotel in Seattle in February 2008. Perhaps it was his former experience as a rancher and my agricultural background, but whatever, we bonded and have remained great friends ever since.

Smitty “jumped the fence” about 5 years ago and joined Microsoft full time working in their team updating Help files and creating Tutorials on the new features and he makes a superb job of it. He moved to Seattle with his wife Cyndi and daughter Campbell.

Around three years ago, Smitty informed me that he had been diagnosed with Cancer of the throat. He then undertook a series of treatments by radiation and chemotherapy. He didn’t say too much to anyone, and he continued his work at Microsoft throughout (apart from visits to the hospital for treatments). He is a real tough cookie with an incredible pain threshold.

At the time of Mandy and my visit to the Summit in November 2018, we had received the great news from him that the treatment had been successful and he had been given the all clear. We went out for a meal to celebrate, albeit Smitty couldn’t taste very much!!. He Cyndi and Campbell started to enjoy life again and start doing all sorts of exciting things outside of work.

The Summits then moved back to springtime, and we had arranged to meet up for dinner on the Saturday night before the Summit in March 2019. This was to be to plan out a visit he and the family were going to make in April to travel to Europe and come and stay with us in Wales. Smitty went skiing with Cyndi that morning (along with several MVP’s) and we had a call from Cyndi just after lunch to say that Smitty had had a fall and broken his shoulder. We said we would postpone dinner, but Smitty was having none of it and arrived with shoulder strapped up and we had a great evening. (Did I say that he was a tough guy?).

He was determined he would be fit to travel by April and we made all the plans. About a week before departure date, Smitty had to go back to hospital for an operation on his knee, which had also been damaged in the fall, and he was forbidden to fly.  He insisted that Cyndi and Campbell should go ahead, and Cyndi’s sister Steph made use of his ticket. We carried out the plan and itinerary we had made.

Things progressed fairly well for the next year albeit with some pain in the knee, but in April this year Smitty was back at the hospital to have a hip operation as he was really suffering with severe arthritis. The doctors discovered that the cancer had left a void in the hip joint, and the bone redevelopment was suffering. From then on the cancer seems to have taken hold and in spite of treatments over the following period, things are not going well.

I do implore you, if you have any happy thoughts or photos of your times with Smitty, that you drop Cyndi an email to share them. I know that she and Campbell will be thrilled and will enjoy reading them to Smitty to try to ease the pain during this difficult time.

Thank you,
Roger Govier

All I can add is that, while Smitty wasn't a close friend, I've met and spoken with him any number of times at the MVP Summits since 2008, he is every bit the wonderful person anyone who's met him will tell you, and I sincerely wish him and his family well in this time of trial.