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 Where Science & Spirit Meet

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Share Your Story

Share How Love Touched or Healed Your Life!

I created this page because I want to honor you and your story. Your perspective and what you have to share are unique.  Your way of being, your insights, your wisdom, your wording, your beliefs and more comprise your uniqueness, and we benefit from hearing your story, because we’re all traveling on this journey of life together and can learn from each others’ experiences!  I have a friend with a bumper sticker that says, “Beliefs divide. Love unites.”   The stories you read here may be from someone with beliefs that differ from yours. If our beliefs differ, let us focus on the unifying theme of Love, which unites. Either way, Enjoy!


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My name is Donald Atkins.  I am the father of two boys, Edward age 55 and Tom age 53. I also have a daughter, from a second marriage, Katie Atkins age 22.  I have four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

After a divorce with my first wife, I remarried a wonderful lady, Carolena Ann Garcia on April 11th, 1987.  Katie Atkins was born November 20, 1988.

In 1995, I was first diagnosed with prostate cancer and told my wife that she may have to raise our child because of my having a major problem with prostate cancer.

My wife Carolena was the most wonderful person, and wife, that a man could have.  Carolena passed away on January 21, 2000 from lung cancer.  To this day, I still miss her very much and think of her each day.  I raised Katie as a single dad through high school and some college, and Katie still lives with me and is 22 years old now.

Shortly after my wife passed away (around 3 months), I took my son, Tom, and daughter, Katie, for a vacation  in Waikiki, Hawaii.  One afternoon, I was swimming in the ocean off the Waikiki Beach and had just lost my new prescription sunglasses that I had on after a large wave came over me and knocked them off.  I was quite far out and figured that my glasses were now lost forever.  I then swam into the beach where my son Tom was sunbathing and told him what had happened. We both spent around 40 minutes standing in the ocean water up to our knees, hoping to find my glasses but to no avail.

I went back on the beach with Tom and sat down looking at the Great Diamond Head Mountain.  My wife and I both loved the Waikiki beach and visits to Hawaii many times in the past.

I prayed to the mountain and my wife that they could help me to find my glasses and then decided to go back down to the water and look again.  After only a few moments, I felt something hit my right leg around my ankle and it was my lost glasses.  I thanked my wife for helping and said another prayer for her.

My wife left me another message in 2002 while I paid a visit to the Valley of the Temples, the Byodo-In Temple located in Kaneohe, Hawaii.

My wife and daughter had visited this beautiful temple many times over the past years and located in the back side of the temple is a large area which grows bamboo trees in clumps of 25 or more.  These groups of trees cover around 25 yards square of trees, and most visitors take the time to engrave little hearts with love messages for their loved ones.  I always engraved a heart with the message, “DA loves CA” and the date and year.  Most all messages had the year engraved on the bamboo tree.  Each year that we paid a visit to this temple, we looked for our last message.  Most of the trees either fell down or got cut down as more trees grew in bunches each year and the temple did not want an overflow of trees.  New trees in the front were allowed to remain for around two or three years to keep the years in order.

The last engraving I made was for the year of 1998 as my wife was diagnosed with lung cancer around February 1999 and was unable to travel to Hawaii again.

I traveled to the temple and Hawaii again in the end of 2000 and looked for the last engraving that I had made in 1998 and could not find any trees with dates as far back as 1998.

My daughter and I again went on our Hawaii vacation in the Fall of 2001 and looked very hard to find any dated trees for the year of 1998.  Nothing was found and all of the trees were dated “2000” and “2001”.

In the next year of 2002, we again visited Hawaii on vacation and went to the Byodo Temple.  I approached the Bamboo Tree area.

I was shocked to see the very first tree in front dated “1998” with my engraving to my wife and other dated 1998 messages engraved on that tree.  I started to cry and thanked God and my wife Carolena for the message from Heaven that let me know that she was still watching over me and my daughter, Katie.

I looked around at the other trees and did not find any dated as far back as 1998 as most were dated “2002” or “2001.”  This tree was growing.  In the next year of 2003, on my return vacation trip to Hawaii, and upon my visit again to the temple, I could not find that tree anywhere.

These events in my life have given me the courage to be a long-term cancer survivor and to fight this terrible prostate cancer for as long as I am able.  I hope that people reading my story will have the courage to fight their cancer and become a survivor.


Donald Atkins, Age 77

16-Year Cancer Survivor


Copyright © 2011 by Donald Atkins. All rights reserved.

Thank you, Don, for sharing your story!

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