Bill Hogencamp was six years into retirement after an outstanding career as an architect. Bill was well known as an architect and was known for designing schools, churches in Lee and Russell counties, as well as apartment complexes throughout the Southeast.
The Hogencamps had no children or pets at home and were free to travel without any worry. They traveled intensely across 6 of the 7 continents. After coming back from a trip to Las Vegas, Bill was hospitalized for fever. After a shot of antibiotics and three months later he was again down with fever. Sensing something serious he went for a detailed medical examination and the sky fell apart.
Stage IV cancer. There was cancer everywhere in his body- cancer in his gall bladder, cancer in his liver, cancer in his colon and cancer in the lining of his abdomen. Doctors said he can be treated but the malaise is incurable and he had just 6 months to live without chemotherapy, with chemotherapy maybe a year more. He disregarded doctor’s advice and went for surgery to remove three tumors.
Eleven days later Kathy Hogencamp, his partner, was on her way to fetch Bill for physiotherapy. On the way she saw a stray dog in the middle of a two lane. Memories flashed as she remembered as a 10 year old, the car she was riding had hit a stray dog.
Kathy stopped her car and picked up the white bundle. The dog was filthy and it cost her $300 before it was ready to board the Hogencamp family.
“He put his head on my leg and just sat there,” she said, “like that was what he was supposed to be doing.”
After Repeated efforts and search the Hogencamps were never able to track down the dog’s owner. The dog very quickly won Hogencamp over. They soon became inseparable and he called him Mahjong
Hogencamp had a course of chemotherapy and just before the holiday he received some miraculous news: Tests showed that he was now cancer free. The Doctors are unable to explain the turn of events but Kathy believes that Mahjong has played a huge part in her husband’s recovery.
Kathy said, “The dog seemed to know right away that Bill was sick and it was his job to take care of him — and Bill knew it was his job to take care of the dog.”
Hogencamp has two final chemotherapy treatments and he is spending the day with friends, family and of course, Mahjong.
“My life has been a miracle,” Hogencamp said. “And now Mahjong is part of that miracle.”