Patrick Clark works as a licensed animal rehabilitation specialist and serves as the president of his children’s PTA. He calls Little Elm Texas home where he’s raising 2 step daughters, a biological daughter, and 2 sons too!
Every Dad of the Week answers the following questions, read on to learn more about Patrick and his daughter!
- What was your first reaction when you found out that you were going to be a father?
- Scared for he health of the baby. I have acute lymphoblastic leukemia and was in multiple chemotherapy medications that made me worry for the health of the baby.
- When you knew you were going to be a father of a daughter, who or where did you turn to for advice?
- My mom passed away in 2009 and Leia, my daughter was born in 2011. So I asked several strong, independent women that I was friends with for advice and support. I also reached out to my moms sister. My aunt had some great advice.
- How would your kids describe you as a dad?
- Funny, supportive…loud. I think they’d talked about how I try to be as fair as possible and how no matter what, I am always supportive of whatever’s going on in their lives. They’d say that the other kids at school always say they wish I was their dad lol…,my kids would talk about how excited I am for our baby boy to be born.
- What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
- I was a single father to my daughter for 7 and a half years. From the time Leia was 5 months old, until I met my wife, Tosha, it was just her and I. The biggest challenge has been juggling raising a daughter and trying to do everything I could do to beat my cancer. Doing methotrexate and Ponatinib chemotherapy was extremely challenging. While my daughter has been alive, I’ve had 2 bone marrow transplants. That entire process was so very difficult on her. On me as well, but I really wanted her to not have to worry about my blast counts or if this treatment round would be effective or not.
- Looking back on your life as a father, what would you change if you could?
- I’d be more open to help. It took me a long time to figure out that no matter how hard I tried, I CANNOT do everything on my own. I would also be more honest with my friends and family. I downplayed the seriousness of my health issues. I made it sound as though my form of leukemia that I had wasn’t a big deal. I also lied to my father about my 2nd bone marrow transplant (i told him I was in the hospital because I had pneumonia. Yes, I know I was an idiot)
- What do you do for fun with your daughter(s)?
- We snake hunt, we fossil hunt, we do roller derby, we go to reptile conventions, we are big, big, big movie goers. We drive to a local spot where tons of bats live and we watch them leave their caves for the night. We go cardboard sledding. We go to a lot of parks. We do spontaneous dance parties at the grocery store or restaurants. We really just like each other and want to spend time with the whole family. I know this phase may not last long…but I plan on soaking up as much as I can doing these things. We also do mudruns and fun runs.
- My wife is an Iraq war veteran and a practicing psychologist here in north Texas, so we volunteer at her school with her when we can. We also do an outreach program with the VA where we teach other veterans about snakes and the importance of them in the ecosystem.
- What advice would you give to other dads with daughters?
- Be patient. Be kind. Be the example. Always be supportive. Never, no matter how hard it is, never speak poorly about their mothers I root of them. If you have a blended family like mine, give the family time to get into a good rhythm. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. But, above all else….BE SUPPORTIVE AND BE KIND.
- How have you come to balance fatherhood and outside life?
- I basically merged them. Our family is lucky in that we love spending time with each other and we tend to do a lot of activities together. My “outside life” consists of really supportive people and they understand if we need to take a few days to reply to them or follow up with them.
- What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a father?
- Seeing my daughter immediately after my 2nd bone marrow transplant.
- Going to see Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker with my daughter (Leia…yes I named my daughter after Star Wars)
- Sitting with my daughter for hours on end while I did my chemo.
- Meeting my then girlfriends kids and feeling like my family was almost complete.
- Just sitting at home with all of my kids, watching the masked singer and realizing how amazing my life really is
- Cheering my daughter on during her first game and watching her score her first points (she plays roller derby)
- Just watching my daughter and step children grow up…there was a long period of time where I didn’t think I’d live to see my daughter celebrate her 7th birthday. Let alone her 8th or 9th. I had a terminal diagnosis and my oncologist told me I had about 13 to 18 months to live. So instead of just sitting there, resigned to my fate… I started applying for every clinical trial that I could find. I finally got accepted into a phase 2 clinical trial out of MD Anderson run by Naveen Pemmaraju that saves my life. I’m under an NDA when it comes to the trial and the medication that I may or may not have had to take or currently am taking.
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