Adam Coules

Adam CoulesAdam was the kind of son that every parent hopes for, and my husband Dave and I couldn’t have been prouder of him. He was always there with a helping hand or a joke to make us laugh. Adam’s positive attitude was infectious and he was adored by his sisters and younger cousins. 
 
Adam just seemed to love life – and he planned to get the most out of it. He threw himself into everything he did, earning a black belt in Jiu Jitsu when he was only thirteen, coaching junior hockey, and practicing his magic act to entertain at children’s parties. Excited about his future, Adam studied business in university and began an internship at an accounting firm. I’d never seen him happier than when he started dating a wonderful young woman named Nicole in the winter of 2004. 
 
And then something terrifying happened. Adam was the picture of health, but right before the holidays in 2006, he suddenly had a seizure. At the hospital, they discovered that Adam had a large tumor in his brain, and would need surgery to remove it as soon as possible. 
 
After the surgery, Adam was referred to Dr. Laperriere at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Soon after, we heard the word that no one ever wants to hear. It was cancer. A slow-growing, stage 2 brain cancer – but brain cancer nonetheless. We were all stunned and wondered how this could be happening to him. He was so young and had absolutely everything to live for. 
 
As hard as it was to be 22 years old and fighting cancer, Adam wasn’t going to let it stand in the way of reaching his goals. Determined to return to normal life, Adam went back to school and finished his internship – earning himself the nickname “Wolverine” from his colleagues for his bravery and unstoppable attitude. He even volunteered to participate in clinical trials at The Princess Margaret, adamant that even if the research didn’t benefit him right now; it would help others in the future.
 
We felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude to be at one of the top five cancer research centres in the world – and at a hospital that was entirely dedicated to fighting cancer. Adam’s doctors left no stone unturned and the level of care he received was more thorough and compassionate than I could have ever imagined. If our son was going to get the best cancer treatment the world has to offer, The Princess Margaret was the place to be. 
 
And thankfully, the treatment was working. Adam’s tumor stabilized and he was excited to start living again. So for three glorious years, that’s exactly what Adam did. 
 
However, on the first day of his new dream job, Adam had another seizure. The next year was a long battle with many highs and lows as Dr. Mason, Dr. Laperriere and the entire care team exhausted every option to slow the growth of Adam’s cancer, including three more brain surgeries. The treatments were taking a toll and Adam started having trouble with his motor skills. But none of us ever gave up hope. Especially not Adam. Knowing how precious life is, and how much he loved Nicole, he surprised her with a romantic proposal as soon as he was cleared to leave the hospital. They set a wedding date for October of 2012.
 
By August of 2012, Adam took a turn for the worse and needed to be hospitalized. When we were told that he only had a few weeks left to live, we tried to put aside our heartbreak and rally around him. The palliative care nurses did the same. 
 
Adam fought as hard as anyone possibly could and his care team moved mountains to try to save him. But one night, Adam’s brain bled in his sleep and he slipped into a coma. He passed away on August 31, 2012, surrounded by everyone who loved him. 
 
If he had lived just two more months, he would have married the love of his life, Nicole. Adam dreamed of dancing at his wedding. He dreamed of living out his passions and having children of his own. But these dreams would never come true. That’s why I’m sharing my son’s story with you today. Adam would have done anything to help others, and even in his short life, he inspired so many to join in the fight to conquer cancer. 
 
It was the worst moment I will ever experience as a mother, and saying goodbye to my son was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. 
 
This holiday season, we will dedicate a Dove of Hope to Adam – a beloved son, brother, fiancé and friend. When you dedicate a dove, you can choose any person to honour. It can be dedicated in memory of a loved one, a friend or family member fighting cancer, a hospital staff member or caregiver. By making a gift and joining the Doves of Hope celebration, you will be making a real difference in conquering cancer.
 
-Leslie Coules, Adam’s Mom
Reviewed: December 2013