Memorial Spaceflights

William "Bill" Parkin

"The Force Be With You"
1977 - 1997

Bill was a remarkable young man and his enthusiasm for life was contagious. Even with all of the obstacles he encountered throughout his lifetime, he maintained a positive attitude that inspired many people. He was a very thoughtful and loving individual who, even on the dreariest of days, could brighten the lives of those around him with his sense of humor and that great big smile of his. In retrospect, one can't help but speculate as to who learned more during Bill's lifetime, him or us?"

-- Kathy Moore & Joy Golobay

Bill Parkin was born with an extremely rare and most often fatal form of muscular dystrophy known as myotubular myopathy. Due to his extremely fragile medical condition, he remained hospitalized for the first six-and-a-half years of his life. He was one of the first ventilator-dependent children to be sent home from the Children's Hospital of Denver. He remained ventilator-dependent throughout his life. He was confined to a wheelchair and communicated through the use of a computerized voice synthesizer. Even though Bill was extremely handicapped he made the best of what he had and was almost always happy and enthusiastic about life. He had a positive influence on virtually everyone with whom he came in contact.

Bill was a longtime fan of the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies professional sports teams. He rarely missed any of the televised Broncos or Rockies games, and attended as many Rockies games as possible. He enjoyed computer and video games. Bill was very interested in outer space and science fiction, especially Star Wars and Star Trek-The Next Generation. At the time of his death, Bill was writing his own version of a Star Wars story. He also liked to go to movie theaters and watch science fiction and horror movies.

Bill first attended Fletcher Miller Special Education School in Lakewood, Colorado. Later, it was decided that Bill would be mainstreamed into a nearby high school, Standley Lake in Westminster. Though Bill missed his many friends and teachers at Fletcher Miller, he did well at Standley Lake and made many new friends.

Bill dearly loved his nurse caregivers who gave him almost round-the-clock care. Between family, nurses, doctors, teachers, and friends, Bill was a very much loved young man and his death was a loss to many. However, everyone would agree that Bill is free now, no longer confined to the many restrictions of that uncooperative body.

Many of the doctors and therapists involved with Bill over the years continued to be amazed that he thrived and continued to live as long as he did. There were many who believed that he'd die as soon as he was discharged from the hospital in 1983. From the time he came home until he died, we lived by the belief that "quality" not "quantity" was what was important for Bill. We made every effort to make his life happy and enjoyable, regardless of how long he actually lived. We all just got lucky that we were blessed with him as long as we were.

At the time of his death we made the decision to donate whatever organs could be used. Ultimately, we received a letter a month later that his corneas had given sight to two different people. We were thrilled with that news, and we're certain that Bill would have been very pleased with this too.

Bill's life and death were remarkable. We spend a lot of time now just thinking about Bill and reflecting about the last 20-odd years. When Bill was born we can recall being so devastated when told of his diagnosis. If anyone would have told us then what the future held and what the next 20 years would be like, we never could have imagined that we could have lived through it all. But now, we can't imagine not having lived through it all. Granted, we had our share of bad times and sad time, but the memories and the love from those twenty years we'd never, ever trade for anything. We were extremely fortunate to have been Bill's parents and his soul lives on in our hearts and our memories, and he will be with us until the day we die.

-- Bill's Parents


For Those I Love And Those Who Love Me

When I am gone, release me, let me go 
I have so many things to see and do 
Please don't tie yourself to me with tears 
Just be happy we had so many years 
I thank you for the love you each have shown 
Now it's time I traveled on alone 
It's only for a while that we must part 
Bless the memories that lie within your heart 
I won't be far away for life goes on 
So if you need me, call and I will come 
Though you won't see me, or touch me 
I'll be near 
And if You listen with your heart you will hear 
All my love around you soft and clear 
Then when you must come this way 
Alone . . . 
I'll greet you with a smile and say 
"Welcome Home" 

Heaven's Special Child 

A meeting was held quite far from Earth 
"It's time again for another birth," 
Said the angels of the Lord above. 
"This special child will need much love. 
His progress may seem very slow; 
Accomplishments he may not show. 
And he'll require much extra care 
From all the folks he meets down there. 
He may not laugh or run or play; 
His thoughts may seem quite far away. 
In many ways, he won't adapt. 
And he'll be known as 'handicapped'. 
So let's be careful where he's sent. 
We want his life to be content. 
Please, Lord, find the parents who 
Will do this special job for you. 
They will not realize right away 
The leading role they're asked to play. 
But with the child from above, 
Comes stronger faith and richer love. 
And soon they'll know the privilege given 
In caring for this gift from heaven - 
Their precious child so meek and mild 
Is 'Heaven's Very Special Child."

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