Cedar Park-based baseball coach dies of cancer
Brian Rose never gave up hope that he would beat the stage 4 melanoma ravaging his body.
The Cedar Park man successfully battled his insurance group to pay for an experimental treatment. He shared his story with strangers and happily supported Livestrong, appearing in the videos posted on the nonprofit’s website. He coached a minor league baseball team, the Wichita Wingnuts, for as long as he could.
Rose, 34, died on Thursday. But he never lost his positive attitude, said his wife, Lupe Ruiz Rose.
“Even up until the end, he had a smile on his face,” she said.
Rose was diagnosed with cancer in April 2010. By the end of that year, the disease had spread to his lungs, liver, spleen, and brain.
Rose spent the next few years struggling to pay medical bills. The American-Statesman wrote a feature story about him in September and he talked how financial problems had not dimmed his outlook on life.
“I wake up with gratitude because I wake up,” he said. “I go to sleep with gratitude because I get another chance the next day.”
Rose found help through Livestrong’s Cancer Navigation Center and the Patient Advocate Foundation, a group that helps people with insurance problems. The groups assisted him with financial and fertility issues. They helped him secure coverage through the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, a federally-funded insurance program.
Last year, the insurance plan refused to pay for him to participate in a $70,000 clinical trial for a new cancer drug. He made a YouTube video telling people his story and the community rallied around him. Strangers donated money. U.S. Money Reserve founder Milton Verret offered to cover the costs. Ultimately insurance took care of it.
Rose’s health took a turn for the worse after Thanksgiving, his wife said. On Friday, friends, family and fans mourned his death.
“His acts of hope, courage and perseverance serve as a great example of the impact one individual can have on an entire community,” said Livestrong President Doug Ulman. “He will never be forgotten.”
To honor Rose, the Wichita Wingnuts have designed a special patch that will be worn on every uniform during the team’s 2013 season.