In 2008, I met Wayne for the first time. We both were working for another firm back then. We were thrown together when we were tasked internally to learn an up and coming EPM product at the time – Oracle Data Integrator, or ODI, for short. What I remember about the Wayne I knew back then was 4 things:
- he bit his nails just as badly as I did (and we both still do to this day),
- he made his own hot sauce,
- he had a love for Brio and OBIEE technologies, and
- he loved his wife Cindy fiercely
Shortly afterwards, we parted ways and I didn’t reconnect with him except through the occasional phone call and at Kscope where we’d hug, do a quick catch up, and he’d distribute bottles of his hot sauce to friends. (Note: if you want to read more about Wayne’s special hot sauce hobby, read here.)
(Kscope17 – celebrating Wayne & Robert’s Oracle ACE promotions!)
Through Wayne, I learned about Cindy’s special crafting hobbies and started following her paper crafting blog. She was the first person to teach me what the term “blog candy” meant. (Don’t worry – it sounds more illicit than it is. This term refers to a special blog giveaway.) I marveled at her creative abilities. I followed her journey through Facebook and my respect for her increased when I saw her costume creations for history re-enactments and learned about their life with Clark.
(Cindy and a friend dressing up in costume)
In 2016 when I joined interRel, Wayne and I were both working for the same company again. And he was the same old Wayne. We caught up and I heard about the bouts of treatment Cindy was undergoing for cancer. It was only the second time I’d seen such a grim look on Wayne’s face in our friendship and I was concerned for them.
Over time, cancer ravaged Cindy’s body. She had beaten it before, but it was getting worse. My sympathy went out to the Van Sluys family and we all hoped for the best. When you hear about cancer affecting those you love, you can’t help but think about your personal journey with this awful disease. My grandmother went through many cycles with cancer. When she was young, she became a victim of breast cancer and took the brave step of getting a double mastectomy. In her 70’s, the cancer returned to her lungs. Eventually, it took over her life and she passed away in 2011. Cancer also claimed the life of my step grandfather, relatives that I never had the chance to meet, and has tried to best some of my close friends. It’s an awful disease. #fuckcancer
When we received the news that the doctors could no longer treat Cindy’s cancer late last year, we were devastated. “What do you need?” I asked him. “More time,” he said. Heartbreaking.
Sarah Zumbrum and I were fortunate to be able to take a day trip to visit Cindy and Wayne this past weekend. We stayed for an hour, giving out many hugs, laughing and smiling about funny past memories, and discussing Sarah and Wayne’s love for hot sauce. Sarah brought some beautiful flowers for Cindy and we all parted with happy thoughts.
Wayne, the consummate host, looked out for our needs while we were there and even sent us home with some of his amazing hot sauce.
One memory that I will forever hold dear is when Cindy and I hugged our goodbyes. “You have a beautiful smile,” she said. So do you, Cindy!
(Cindy and Clark)
Cindy and Wayne have been crazy strong through all of this. They’re making the best of every moment together. I have a new appreciation for the things I’ve taken for granted, and I will honor this reminder that they’ve shown me. Life is precious. Every day counts.
When tragedy befalls the people in your life, it’s only natural to imagine what you would do in their shoes. Some of the folks in Wayne’s group of friends have fought cancer and won. Many have lost family members and friends to cancer. I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose a spouse at such a young age. My heart goes out to your entire family, Cindy, and I am glad to have been a part of your life, although just a small part of it.
The Van Sluys’ are surrounded by many friends throughout the Oracle community and beyond. They are grateful for the support during this very difficult time. Just 3 short weeks ago we started a GoFundMe account for Wayne. If you would like to donate (any amount is appreciated), please navigate to the below site. We are only $800 from our goal! Thank you and please share!
GoFundMe for the Van Sluys’: https://www.gofundme.com/vansluys
Sarah Zumbrum’s Dedicaton to the Van Sluys: https://realtrigeek.com/2018/01/09/i-hate-wayne-van-sluys-beard/
Justin Biard’s Ode to His Friend Wayne: https://icodealot.com/my-friend/
Mike Riley’s Thoughts: https://realtrigeek.com/2018/01/04/its-time-to-rally-the-oracle-community-for-the-van-sluyss/