Yearly event raises money for Amyloidosis research
As Chip Miller always said, “Life is good.”
This remark encompasses the most important components of life itself. It is a reminder to always appreciate, never take for granted, and enjoy the present, because time is never promised.
Chip himself lived by this philosophy, loved cars; as he was an avid collector, but loved his family most of all.
To say the least, he was a great friend, husband, and father, and even during the worst of his battle with Amyloidosis, his positivity and faith never faltered.
The disease, although rare, is extremely unforgiving, as proteins deposit and accumulate in the body’s organs and tissue causing an aggressive breakdown of bodily functions. Unfortunately, the knowledge and awareness of Amyloidosis lacked prevalence when the Miller family began to recognize concerning symptoms.
“My dad was misdiagnosed for a long time. He went to every specialist, and the most they could do was give him steroids and hope for the best. We suspected there was something more as we watched the healthy man we once knew deteriorate into a weaker version,” said Lance Miller, Chip’s son. “There was one significant exchange at a car show my dad attended. Hearing of the familiar symptoms, his friend asked if he had been tested for Amyloidosis. We began to read into the disease and immediately saw the importance of getting him tested.”
Unfortunately, the developmental stage of his disease was far too advanced for much to be done following the diagnosis. With love for the life he was given and the family that surrounded him, Chip passed at the young age of 61 on March 25, 2004.
Heartbroken and coping, the Miller family refused to ignore the lack of Amyloidosis awareness, and worked to shine a light on Chip’s experience, but represent it in a way that would highlight his lively spirit.
“My mom was actually the one who insisted we form a foundation,” said Lance. “She was disappointed in the health system and the way it worked. In order for doctors to identify symptoms and properly diagnose, we needed to raise money for the study of Amyloidosis.”
Thus, the Chip Miller Amyloidosis Foundation was born, with one clear and purposeful mission; “Empowering people with the knowledge and understanding of amyloidosis for earlier detection, ensuring a better quality of life for those afflicted with the disease and to help science find the cures.”
Donations are spread widely across the National Amyloidosis Foundation, Secure Harbor, and the National Organization for Rare Disorders, but how the funds are collected is the most special part of all.
July 29 will be the 18th Annual fundraising event where having fun and spending quality time with family is what matters most; including the locally famous Chip Miller Surf Fest, Slide for Amyloid, and the catering of Ocean City’s finest and most loved food.
The busy day starts off with the Chip Miller Surf Fest on 7th Street Beach where participants of all ages and levels of skill ride some waves. There is no competition, as a wide range of awards are offered, celebrating the joy in the sport rather than the rivalry.
Following the playful tournament, the surfers and additional supporters find their way over the OC Waterpark to take part in the Slide for Amyloid. From 6-10pm there is full access to all water rides, setting up the night for endless amounts of fun.
Supported by Subaru, Billabong, Copiers Plus, and Uncle Bill’s Pancake House, the event serves some of the tastiest treats in OC. From Mallon’s Sticky Buns, Sandwich Bar, Red’s Jersey Mex Café, Hula Restaurant and Sauce Co., Express Pizza and Subs to Bungalow Bowls, Boyars Food Market, and Hank Sauce, the entire Ocean City area is represented in good food. This year Doug Vaules, the chef at Redfish Catering, will be cooking up some of his specialty meals for the crowd.
Quality time with the people you love, the food you love, in the city you love. It is as easy as that; and Chip Miller would not have wanted his legacy carried out any other way.
“This is the way my dad would have wanted to be remembered,” said Lance. “He was the best man in the whole world and to this day receives glowing remarks from those who knew him. The event embodies my dad’s motto of living life to the fullest, but it is more than that. We are here to share awareness by emphasizing the symptoms of amyloidosis and educate people in a lighthearted and enjoyable way. There are a lot of young kids that come out, and we always make an effort to stress how important it is to spend time with family. It’s crucial to give them a sense of the bigger picture. Hug your parents and tell them you love them; because one day you may not be able to.”
All images courtesy of the Chip Miller Amyloidosis Foundation