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PRAIRIE DU SAC, Wisc. — Many of us make a list of things we want for Christmas – new toys, new gadgets, you name it. But one man in Wisconsin wants something very simple, something every single one of us can give him.

In the Weittenhiller house…

“Christmas is probably one of the most important holidays that we celebrate each year.”

Gene Weittenhiller is ready to spend another Christmas with his wife.

“Forty years this coming Valentine’s Day”

Gene has been fortunate to get many gifts in his near 72 years of life, except this year, he’s cherishing the gift of time.

“The incision was healing okay on the inside. But unfortunately, it also showed a tumor growing on my pancreas. It was confirmed I have stage four inoperable cancer. I immediately began chemotherapy. The first one just knocked me on my rear end. It unfortunately showed that it has not caused any shrinkage at all in the primary tumor on my pancreas and in fact, some of the lesions on my liver, where it’s growing have increased in size,”  he said.

“It’s been devastating. Mostly because we just retired, we are just enjoying being close to our kids and our grandchildren.”

Gene started chemo in mid-August and lost 50 pounds. He stopped chemo three weeks ago, deciding to let nature take its course.

“My youngest granddaughter, who is 3 years old, doesn’t grasp that Grandpa W is sick and he isn’t able to get on the ground and roll around with me anymore. That’s very difficult for me to accept,” Weittenhiller said.

His doctor says he has months left to live.

His son Ross has gone above and beyond since he found out about his dad’s diagnosis. He contacted the Green Bay Packers, who sent Gene a football signed by the entire team and coaching staff. Alex Trebek signed a photo and wrote him a handwritten letter of support.

And now, for one final gift from everyone else, he’s asking for as many Christmas cards as possible.

“I’ve been a firefighter for 13 years. I’ve been with Sauk City for 5. I was an EMT for 6 years with Dane County District 1. One thing I learned from all that is sometimes you help out a complete stranger just because they asked. This time I’m the one asking from other complete strangers,” he said.

Even from complete strangers, your love is the best gift he could ask for, to make his last Christmas the most memorable one yet.

“An overwhelming outpouring of love and support of people that I’ve never met and probably never will… but who cares?”

If you would like to send a Christmas card, here’s the address:

Gene Weittenhiller

410 20th St.

Prairie du Sac, WI 53578