Mike Walsh holds up his ring finger where his gold wedding ring once sat. He and wife Cheryl, left, are appealing to the public for help in finding the gold wedding ring lost Oct. 7.(Photo: Alan Ward, (Livingston County, Mich.) Daily Press & Argus)
HOWELL TOWNSHIP, Mich. (USA TODAY) - Mike Walsh is dying and the one item he'd like to leave his widow is his wedding ring, which slipped off his fingers after a recent chemotherapy session.
The 57-year-old Howell Township, Mich. man hopes that offering a $1,000 reward for the return of his gold coin ring featuring a running gazelle - which he lost Oct. 7 while at a Costco about 20 miles away in Green Oak Township - will provide incentive for whomever found it to return it.
He doesn't know if it slipped off his finger while inside the store or in the parking lot.
"I'm going to die from pancreatic cancer," Walsh said as tears flowed. "I will die. I have, maybe, that ring to leave my wife. That's why it's important. It's earthly value isn't important."
Walsh says he met his wife, Cheryl Walsh, a Stockbridge, Mich., teacher, in January 1978 during a snowstorm.
He was working for Ford in Wixom, Mich., and after a two-night shutdown from the snowstorm, he decided to get out of the house by visiting a buddy's nightclub one Friday night. There he came across a car stuck in the snow. Inside were two couples on a double date.
Mike Walsh and friends were able to move the car closer to the nightclub while the two couples went inside to wait.
"She was on a date with someone else," Mike Walsh said. "I had to meet her. I kept asking her to dance. About the fourth time, they were getting ready to leave and she gave me her phone number. We've been together ever since."
The couple has experienced good and bad times throughout their union, and in January 2012 their relationship was tested when Mike Walsh was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
"You say, 'No' over and over again," he said. " 'It can't be real. It can't be right,' and it is. You just realize ... you have to ask God to walk the walk with you, and that's the only way you can do this."
Mike Walsh said his initial prognosis was that he would live only three months to six months.
"I'm going to leave her, and I'd like her to have my wedding ring," he said. "I wore it every day. I wore it through the hard times. I wore it through the good times. I wore it through the broke times."