Today is Father’s Day. On this day, thousands of families around the world will celebrate in this yearly calendar event. For the Horry family, it won’t be the same. This past Tuesday, June 14th, former San Antonio Spurs player Robert Horry lost his 17-year old daughter Ashlyn to a rare genetic disorder called 1p36 deletion syndrome.
When I got the scoop of the story, I didn’t want to write it. I was hoping that the link was false and it wasn’t true. It was. I felt awful just to write it. Myself, nor anyone could never know what it felt like except for the Horry’s and those who have lost a son or daughter, or a brother or sister at an early age.
Five days after losing his daughter, Robert Horry has a written an open letter to his daughter for all NBA fans to read. I have taken out excerpts of the letter, but please follow the link and read the entire letter, it’s too powerful to miss any piece of it.
Your beautiful smile has always been my inspiration. Although I am the father, you were my teacher, my hope and incentive, and my role model — to your brother Camron and mother, Keva, as well.
Born with courage and determination, you confronted and overcame the challenges of 1p36 deletion syndrome, a rare and disabling genetic disorder. My admiration for you is only outdone by your dazzling smile, immortal in my heart.
I wanted you to join the play of the other children on holidays, but that was my hardship — you enjoyed the laughter and seized every moment.
Houston was your home, the place where you underwent care and treatment and offered the same with your striking and infectious smile. My NBA career was a challenge because it kept me away from home, but no matter where I played — Los Angeles or San Antonio — my heart always remained in Houston. And I couldn’t wait to visit so I could hold you. Daddy-daughter time was precious; I treasured our moments together and held onto your irresistible smile, my inspiration.
My retirement finally enabled me to join you, and I witnessed the fighter spirit daily. The things we take for granted — breathing, eating, walking — were your obstacles. But you faced every challenge with courage and that charming smile that made everything better.
On this day, Father’s Day, your spirit is watching over me and making sure we are all safe and warm. I know you are smiling on life, love and family, and waiting for us to join you. There will come a time when we will again see that engaging smile that brought us so much joy each day of your life.
In your loving memory, we will persistently seek to increase awareness of 1p36 deletion syndrome through your foundation. We will bring hope to others around the world, to the children who suffer from the same genetic disorder, and to those parents and families who share the same desperation.
As the clock ticks, we will nudge medical science with your courage and determination and hope and pray that your eternal smile will offer the comfort that inspired me each day of your beautiful life.
I will always love you.
The Ashlyn Horry Foundation is committed to providing community initiatives focusing on youth disabilities and caregivers while providing resources for development and empowerment regardless of economic status, race, religion or creed.
If you’re fortunate to spend time with your father or you’re a parent spending time with your son or daughter, please cherish this day and every day with them. If you are in different locations, please make a phone call and cherish the conversation. I know I will, “Big Shot Bob” and his daughter Ashlyn have reminded me that life is too precious.