Category Archives: Family

My Brother, My Hero

Lance Perry Snyder is a gem of a brother. I’ve known that since I was a kid when my Mom and Dad put us in the same room. At night, we’d lie awake talking to one another past our bedtime. He’d ask me questions and I’d reply with big-brother answers.

Lance ParkerOnce, I made fun of him for being afraid of the dark, and pulled out the nightlight to help him overcome his fear. He got up and tried to re-attach it to the socket, only to get shocked by the electricity. As a big brother who knew better, I had him wash off the electricity in the bathroom sink.

Later, we played on the same soccer team. I don’t remember the name of the team, nor our coach, but I remember the last game we played together in Norwin, PA. Our team made it to the final. Tied 1-1 until the last minute, Lance and I combined on the game winning goal. Winning in Norwin was bigger than the Pens winning the cup.

Lance Parker

Along with Morgan, Lance and I share a love of golf. All three of us used to play on a junior tour where 15 to 18 year olds competed. One year the tournament was held at the Oakmont East golf course.

At the end of the day, I went to greet my brother who was playing along with an 18 year old, twice his size, and the expected winner of the tournament. To my surprise this guy was congratulating Lance, who had just won the tournament after sinking a ten foot putt on the final hole of the course.

Lance has an easy-going nature. I never really met someone who didn’t like Lance. Not just his peers, but guys much older than him. When Lance was in high school, some of his friends had already retired. I remember his boss at his first job out of college with Pulte Homes was a guy named Robbie, a big burly former marine. He and Lance were pals. They’d go fishing, boating. Lance has a good soul. He’s a gentleman, who loves everybody and is loved by everybody.

Sometimes, because I live far away, I lay awake at night wondering if we squeezed the lemon. It’s easy to say no when the devil of doubt crawls beneath your skin, and you start to think – not about what you did – but about all you might not do.

But as I write this blog post in the guest room of his house at 106 Virginia Ave, on a short visit home to spend time with him, I don’t doubt he’s already lived more in 30 years than many live in 60. How few even get started on the house of their dreams, let alone renovate it before age 30?

Some of you may be wondering how Lance is doing. From my point of view, he’s doing well. Although his spirits are down, he’s surrounded by his siblings, Morgan and Ashley, his wife Francine, Bob, Cherie and Kasia in spirt, by his Mom and Dad.

Yes, Lance we squeezed the lemon.

As I get ready to head back to my wife and son overseas, I have to say that Lance and Morgan are the best brothers I could ask for.

Lance, you are still teaching me the value of hard work. Morgan, you are teaching me the value of treating everyone the same, as you work for the good of all those you meet. You both have accepted me for my decisions. Thank you both. Let me close with a few words from the dedication Lance read to me on the day of my wedding in 2007:

“Parker and Kasia will unite and become one. Together, they will create opportunities for others with new beginnings and better endings. They will travel with one another, know no distance too long, no barrier or border too big… where others would see only differences, they would see love.”

Lance, I am hoping you will get better and trust you to the gracious care of your wife. But while I’m gone I want you to know that I love you.

Lance Parker

Lance’s treatment plan will be re-evaluated

Hey everyone, Lance’s brother Parker writing here.

Lance went in for an MRI the other day. The test was to see what effect, if any, the chemotherapy and radiation have had over the last three months.

My brother is part of a double-blind study (in which neither the doctors nor the patients know who gets what) to test the effects of Avastin, a drug which targets the blood supply feeding the tumor.

Well, the results of the MRI are in. They have determined that there has not been the level of impact they hoped from efforts thus far and will evaluate his treatment plan and make new recommendations this week.

What everyone would like to know – me included – is will Lance get better? When will he be back to his old self? Smiling, blue-eyed, Lance.

I am just like you! I created this blog for the purpose of documenting his recovery. I was committed to put prayer first and to hope until the end, and even further, because that’s what we’re taught to do, and what human bonds shared in flesh compel us to do.

But that goddamn cancer. I’ll be the one to speak from my heart, today. It’s tough to say if Lance will get better. My Dad, my Mom, my brothers (especially Lance), my sister, friends, close family, we’re all optimistic, as our nature instructs. Francine especially. She is the strongest of any of us. That girl, God bless her, will love and support and fight until the end. I only write what I write because that’s what Lance would do for me if he were in my shoes.

The cancer Lance has is progressive. It effects the centers of memory and speech. It hits his balance, nerves. It has the egregious character of rendering the brain, that fragile mass of flesh, progessively less capable of understanding what’s happening to it. And it advances, not linearly, like a golf cart, but quicker and quicker, like a plane at takeoff.

I know you have your hope on the line for him. I do too. Today, I hope the doctors and nurses un-blind the experiment to find out if he has been receiving the Avastin, and if not, that they would give it to him promptly.

Lance is with us today. We spoke to one another for an hour on the phone. He was bright and alert. He is bright and alert.

If you are a friend, and you are wondering, do I stop by or not? Stop by. Do it now, because life has a way of slipping, and regret is a bitter pill to swallow.

My sister Ashley is more eloquent, my brother Morgan more sincere. I am pragmatic, spare. This is what I would have done for me, were I the one.

I love you Lance. I am sorry to write about you, and not to you. You are very much at the center of my heart.


Lance’s Halfway through Radiation

Hi Everyone.

Starting tomorrow Lance is starting his fourth week of radiation. He has a total of 6 weeks of radiation and has already gone through 3. He is tolerating his chemo pills extremely well and is breezing through radiation.  He has had few side effects from both but did start losing his hair where the radiation is targeted. Lance is completely ok with it and I gave him his first hair trim tonight in order to even it out. Overall, doing great. Spirits are high and Lance is still doing real estate. Hopefully, with the holidays we will slow down and enjoy more of the holiday season.

I am still overwelmed with the love and support that keeps pouring in for both Lance and I.  Saying thank you seems like not enough but again THANK YOU . We still need the prayers because we are dealing with something very aggressive and ugly but I have faith that we can get through this difficult time with everyone’s love and faith.

God Bless


A Thousand Pebbles

You may know Lance, the real estate agent. But you may not know his talent for design. What follows is a little tale. Mostly about drills, hammers and picking the right color for the master bath. It’s a story about a rainbow-colored brick house on Virginia Avenue that he renovated himself, and what this unique work says about his character. Read on if you wish…

Or click here for the story in photos…

106 Virginia Ave

106 Virginia Ave

So far, so good!

Dear Family, Friends, and Supporters all over the world! 

Wow–it’s overwhelming to hear how many people are following Lance’s story and supporting him.  There are literally people all over the United States and in countries all over the world praying for Lance.  On behalf of Lance and Francine and both the Snyder and Costa families, I very sincerely and deeply THANK YOU!!!!! 

I know several people have said to me this week, “I heard Lance began treatment on Monday.  How’s it going?”  I realized there hasn’t been an update since.  So, I decided to jump online and bring you up to date.  

Praise God–Lance is doing wonderfully, both emotionally and physically!  So far he has he not had any adverse effects from the chemo or radiation.  Actually, there has already been an improvement!  The terrible pain he’s had in the left side of his face has finally has started to subside!    

One of my dad’s friends wished Lance a “strong start and a triumphant finish.”  What a beautiful sentiment and picture of hope and victory…A strong start he has had indeed!  Lance has been a champ.  We are so proud of him! 

Again, on behalf of Lance and Francine and both of our families, I wish you and yours a very blessed Thanksgiving.

With much love and deep gratitude for each and every one of you,               Lance’s sister, ashley ♥

Today is a gift.  That’s why we call it the present. 

Going all in…

By Ashley (Snyder) Frankis

Today was a special day at our church and also in Lance’s life.

Today marked the end of a series in our chuch called:  CANNONBALL:  All in and making waves.  The idea is that we should dedicate our whole lives, our whole selves to God.  Everything–our time, money, priorities, and gifts; everything we should align with the purposes of God.  We are called to go deeper into the upward calling of Christ.

The thought of going off the diving board and doing a cannonball into the deep end might seem exciting, wild, and freeing; or it might seem scary.  But, regardless, it requires a decision to go forward, all the way; you can’t just do a cannonball part way.

Today marked the end of the sermon series, but the beginning of this new initiative and vision to go all in with God and to make waves, thereby affecting and impacting the lives of others.

I sat in church this morning thinking about Lance and how today marks the end of a period in his life and how tomorrow will be the beginning of his cannonball.

Since Lance’s ER admission on Friday, October 8th, he has gone through a multitude of tests and appointments and a very serious surgery.  There have been many questions, discussions, phone calls, visits, cards, meals, gifts, and prayers.  There has been so much, so suddenly, so unexpectedly, but SO COURAGEOUSLY!!

Lance has been REMARKABLE.  His attitude has been amazing; his disposition strong and courageous.  He’s had a quiet confidence and humble demeanor about him.  He has truly been filled with God’s grace and peace which transcends all understanding.  He is a living testimony and witness to the Living God.  Bless you, Lance, as you move forward into tomorrow–to day one of treatment.

We are right there with you, Lance, in person and in spirit.  We pray that God would continue to strengthen you, protect you, and heal you.

Tomorrow morning Lance will first take his oral chemotherapy and then go to Shadyside hospital for a 9:30am radiology appointment.  Family and friends, would you please sometime tomorrow morning find a quiet moment for Lance.  Lift him up in prayer.  Please also remember Francine, Mom, and Dad as they walk with him.  Let us then just be still, be quiet, stop thinking, and simply listen.

Word of God speak…

Treatment will Be Started on Monday 11/15; met with Mario Lemieux last night


My treatment has not been started; only my fly fishing for Steelhead, Church / Mass during the week and weekend continues, real estate work picks up in a huge way, hanging out with family and friends, and all kinds of sporting events, wine making, getting ready for Holidays, and all kinds of other things. My originial plan was to eat Thanksgiving early, fly out that night for 1.5 days of traveling to the Seychelles. Once at the Seychelles, which is off of Africa half way around the world from Pittsburgh, we would fly fishing for 7 days and travel back 1.5 days which is 8 total flights there and back. Due to the treatment I have to delay this trip although I will stay involved with my friends going; I was going to write fishing articles, update Frontiers Travel marketing / pics, and review new gear we used as well as doing research for Bonefish and Tarpon Trust. Due to the treatment, I cannot go to the Seychelles for a while, but will fly fish for Steelhead in PA, NY, and OH as well as enjoy the whole day of Thanksgiving and spending time before and after Turkeyday with family and friends.

Lastly, I will be finishing our basement in the Winter, continuing my (2) fishing books; 1 for children and 1 for adults. If anyone has questions, comments, needs me to represent them as their real estate agent, call me or text me at 412.779.7076, or email me at Yinz can do anything here on this blog, I just do not use this as much; everyone, thank you for your thoughts, prayers, gifts, advice, encouragement, etc. I am so ready to roll, confident, I will beat this disease and start having a family as soon as I can with my wife.

My wife is the most beautiful in the world, just turned 27, the smartest, works so hard as the best Pharmacist, helps me and her family, cooks dramatically; we have been married over a year (9/19/09), celebrated our 1 year anniversary in Italy, will do our 5th year in Ireland where we got engaged in Kilarny; I took her from our hotel through the city, through a park, along a stream, and dropped off at a castle and lake by a horse drawn carriage. We hopped in a boat and the captain took us out to an island where we walked in a circle and had lunch out of a wicker basket. I dropped to one knee and asked her to marry me; it was amazing as she said yes and we celebrated.

I am sorry this is so long, I finally updated this and will post a lot of pictures to the photo gallery and read comments and stories.

Lance Snyder

A twist of fate keeps tugging a sister’s heartstrings

I (Ashley, Lance’s sister) would like to share a little story with you to take you deeper into the heart of Lance…

This past summer, my family–Bob, Garrett 9, Julia 8, Ryan 7, and I–spent a couple months at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  We enjoyed day after day of water, waves, sand, surf, and sun until 1:00am on Sunday, July 25th, when we had a little emergency of our own.

Ryan, then 6, had a seizure.  (While it caught us off guard, it didn’t come as a complete surprise.  Ryan was diagnosed as an infant with a congenital brain malformation; we were told back then he had a 50/50 chance of developing seizures.)

Ryan was transported by ambulance to the local hospital and then flown to A.I. Dupont Hospital for children in Wilmington, DE because of its remarkable pediatric neurology department and because he had been in a seizure for a dangerously long time–1 hour and 45 minutes.

When Ryan woke up later that same morning in the pediatric intensive care unit, he asked why he was in the hospital and how he got there.  We briefly explained to him that his brain “paused,” just like a DVD, and stopped communicating to his body and that he wasn’t able to respond to anything.

“So,” we said, “you had to be taken to the hospital, first by ambulance then by helicopter.”  Ryan’s next question was, “How am I getting home?”  We told him “in Daddy’s car, which is here because we had to drive up separately.”  Ryan, who happened to be born on 9/11, LOVES rescue vehicles, and–quite ironically–had prayed with me many a time for the men and women who work all night to keep us safe, said very seriously, “Well, that’s not fair; I want to go back the same way I came–first on a helicopter, then on an ambulance!”

Well, Lance, upon hearing what Ryan said, without delay, called up a very small airport in Western New York and hired a helicopter to take Ryan for the ride he didn’t remember.

This is where evidence of God’s orchestrating all of these events comes into play.  Our entire “Snyder Family”–Mom, Dad, Morgan, Cherie, Joshua and Abigail, Parker, Kasia (with baby on board!), Lance, Francine, my five–and my mom’s sister Vikki were due to travel to Chautauqua Lake, New York for a family reunion on Saturday, July 31st–just six days away!  (Chautauqua is where, back in the 80’s and early 90’s, my family owned a condo and we spent many wonderful weekends together.)

Ryan was discharged from the hospital on Tuesday, July 27th.  We went back to the beach to pack up.  On Thursday we traveled to our home in Maryland and on Friday, the 30th, we were on our way to Pittsburgh!  (Thank God Ryan took well to his medicine; there was no time to play around with that if we wanted to make the trip.  And for those of you who know me and how deeply I love my family, I was determined to make the trip!)

Another disaster we managed to avoid, believe it or not, was a tornado that came off Chautauqua Lake and right up through the “M” building of Chautauqua Lake Estates, leaving our old condo with the most damage!  This tornado happened on Saturday, July 24th, the day before Ryan’s seizure.  Had my parents booked condos in the “M” building, for old times’ sake, we would never have made it to the reunion either.  You see, God definitely wanted that reunion to happen!

Ryan in helicopter

Lance not only made Ryan’s wish come true; he gave the entire family an opportunity to ride in a helicopter!  Would you believe the first three up in the air were Lance, Ryan, and I?  (This is a small miracle in and of itself, as my last “wild ride” was with Bob on a roller coaster about 16 years back that left me on the couch for days!  That was literally the last time I willingly got on a nauseating ride just so I wouldn’t look like the wimp that I am when it comes to such things!)  But, when it came to having the first honorary ride with my brother and my son, there was something compelling me to go for it.  I did and am I ever glad!

Lance in helicopter

Up in that helicopter, to my surprise, it was quite calm and relaxing; not nauseating at all.  (It was also very symbolic, as we flew over all the areas we used to explore as a family back in the day.)

Up, high above the trees and lake, above seemingly everything, the following scripture verse kept coming to mind:

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  Is 40:31

Ashley, Lance and Ryan with Co-Pilot

Ashley, Lance and Ryan with Co-Pilot

I knew then, in my heart, more than a simple propeller was keeping us in flight.  I also believe now, looking back, that God was preparing my heart for what was to come…

So, when I got Mom’s call on Friday, October 8th, telling me that Lance was admitted to St. Margaret’s ER and would be transported to Shadyside Hospital where there was a highly esteemed neurological department, you can imagine where my mind went–back to July when it was my son in the neuro ICU and back to August when it was Lance who made my little boy’s dream come true.

Ashley in helicopter with Ryan

Lance, I only wish I could now, in turn, make it all better for you.  While I can’t, I know who can.  And He, who carried us in flight that day, still is holding you this day.

Lance, I believe in you.  We all do.

Family at Institution

Family at Institution

Delicious Detox

Both Francine and I (Lance’s sister-in-law) are Kitchen Fairies. We very much enjoy cooking, and the Snyder family seems to enjoy our cooking as well.

Well, one day last September Francine and I sat in her living room browsing through her cookbooks. I said to her, “Hey Francine, maybe we could put together a family cookbook of our best recipes?”

“Actually, I just started a book of recipes for Lance. He is so particular that I need to collect recipes for foods he enjoys eating,” Fancine said.

“That’s great, so I can add my collection, take some photos and our project is ready!”

I remember that conversation well — that was the recent morning Francine and Lance left for Italy.

Since then, Francine and I got caught up in other issues. We postponed the project because “there is always tomorrow” or maybe because it wasn’t all that much of a challenge. One thing is for sure. Things have changed since that September morning: there are no more urgent issues than Lance’s health, tomorrow may not always come, and the challenge is there…

Kasia and Francine cooking

Francine cooking with Kasia her sister-in-law during summer 2010

So here’s our challenge: Delicious Detox.

Today we start a collection of healthy anticancer recipes on Lance’s blog. Given that foods which display strong anticancer action are for example turnips, leeks, garlic, onions, beets or cabbage…

We may have to ask you to give us the benefit of the doubt when your first try our recipes. I have been brought up in a culinary tradition (Polish) which incorporates a lot of those ingredients everyday. So I can assure you veggies such as turnips are hugely underestimated for their taste, looks and nutritional value. I will share some amazing recipes for those…as well as leeks…and buckwheat…

Francine will add her own wonderful anticancer foods to kill for (such as the homemade tomato sauce). We also invite you to share your “delicious detox” recipes. Please, please join in! Here’s how:

1. Simply post the recipe in the reply box. I will add it to the list.
2. Or email recipe and/or photo to kasiasnyder at gmail dot com.

Delicious Detox Ingredient List
Click this link for preferable and discouraged (to be avoided or used sparingly) ingredients. The only absolute no no’s are white sugar and white flour.

So are you up for the challenge with us? Francine will stamp some of our recipes “Lance’s favourite.” These recipes will have satisfied his choosy palette.

So – aprons on! Back to the fifties!

With love,


Below is a list of preferred ingredients:

1. Fish (trout, halibut, salmon, sardines, herring)
2. shrimp, shellfish
3. Organic meat and poultry (but only small amounts)
4. Organic diary (butter, cheese, milk, yoghurt)
5. Olive oil – cold pressed, canola oil, flaxseed oil
6. Multigrain bread, sourdough bread (but only the one on natural s ourdough starter)
7. whole wheat pasta (or white pasta al dente – not overcooked)
8. quinoa
9. Indian spices, especially turmeric mixed with black pepper
10 .mint
11. thyme
12. rosemary
13. garlic
14. lentils
15. beans
16. tofu and soy products
17. ginger
18. cabbage (all sorts)
19. broccoli
20. cauliflower
21. spinach
22. organic lettuce
23. green beans
24. organic cucumbers
25. tomatoes
26. onions
27. leeks
28. shallots
29. chives
30. parsley
31. turnips
32. beets
33. carrots
34. apples, pears
35. organic berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries)
36. organic pumpkin
37. flaxseed
38. dark chocolate
39. organic orange and lemon peel
40. lemons and oranges and grapefruit
41. organic grapes
42. fruits and veggies generally

Discouraged Ingredients (use sparingly)

1. Pork
2. Large fish (shark, haddock)
3. margarines
4. sunflower oil
5. non organic eggs and milk
6. honey and brown sugar
7. all processed foods – those that can sit on the store shelves for months

Arming for Battle

Dear Friends and Family,

Today is the day Lance undergoes final preparations for radiation and chemotherapy, which are scheduled to begin this Monday, November 1st. As I type, Lance, Francine, Mom, and Dad are at Shadyside hospital where Lance has already had blood work and is now having an MRI. The doctors need to have an accurate, updated picture of where the treatments need to be directed. Later today he will meet with his oncologist, Dr. Frank Lieberman.

Please take a moment this morning to quiet your heart and lift up Lance in prayer. Let’s flood the gates of heaven with cries for mercy and pleas for deliverance on Lance’s behalf.

And remember…

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Prov 3:5-6

He holds victory in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.
Prov 2:7-8


With much love, many prayers, and an abundance of hope,
Ashley (Lance’s sister)