Type of Sarcoma: Fibrosarcoma
Date of Diagnosis: 2006
A life lived large, loud, and full of love and friendship was Bob’s approach to each day. Bob was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin in 1965 and was an avid high school athlete, sports memories being a frequent topic of conversation with Bob and his friends. Completing his undergraduate degree at UW-Eau Claire in 1989, Bob moved to the Twin Cities a year later, continuing in his career in contract administration with Cray Research and eventually, Deluxe Corporation.
A beautiful relationship began between Bob and Lora in 1987 and they were married in 1993- truly a gift to be married to your best friend. Bob’s life for the next 14 years was filled with the joys of being a dad to Bryce and Brianna, coaching every youth sport they played, golfing as frequently as possible, hunting and fishing, and running as he trained for various races.
Bob was 41 years old, training for marathons and playing hockey, when he began experiencing tightness and pain in his hip. He attributed it to the high mileage running he was doing and saw an orthopedic surgeon, who determined he had arthritis in his spine and this was the reason for his pain. After several more months of pain, thankfully by chance, a glance at an x-ray by a chiropractor led to an urgent order for further imaging and ultimately his diagnosis – a low-grade fibrosarcoma in his pelvis.
Bob had radiation in the hopes of having a different surgical option that was not so significantly life changing, but the decision was made for Bob to have a hemipelvectomy amputation in 2006 to remove the tumor and save his life. Upon hearing this surgical plan, Bob became very focused on “save my life, save my limb, don’t let me quit” as his priorities going forward. As a very active athlete, this surgery certainly presented challenges and changes but once Bob realized that “save my limb” was not an option, he embraced this new normal immediately, adopting a mantra of “No Quitting”.
He used a prosthetic every day, up to 15 hours a day, which is somewhat unusual for that level of amputation. Bob tried sled hockey, became a hand cycler, returned to golfing and hunting, and continued to coach youth sports. There was nothing he wouldn’t try and he was an inspiration to many as a result. Bob spent time as a peer mentor for new amputees and enjoyed providing his perspective to others, encouraging others to focus on what is important every day- family, friend, purpose.
Bob changed careers in 2009 and became a financial adviser, something he had wanted to do for years. He loved this new profession and especially loved the work family he found at RW Baird.
In 2016, Bob saw his primary care provider because of a persistent cough and discovered that his fibrosarcoma had returned as metastases in his lungs. We were shocked but quickly jumped back into the fight, seeking out treatment options at Mayo Clinic, MN Oncology, and Northwestern University. He continued to embrace life every day and lived a life full of hope as he sought out multiple treatment options to prolong his life.
In his last year, Bob traveled with his family to many places- often just taking the moment to appreciate time with family in beautiful surroundings by the ocean or in the mountains. Bob continued to work right up until the last week of his life because he loved his relationships with his clients and colleagues. We celebrated his life, a life lived fully, when he passed away in November 2018 and hope to continue to support research and teaching around sarcoma diagnosis and treatment through the Bob Anderson Named Fund.