A worthy opponentPublished 10:29am Wednesday, November 4, 2009
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
It’s not too hard to imagine how Niles High School Senior Travis Timm won the title of Homecoming King this year.
A young man of generally good humor, polite in his exchanges and careful in his responses, Timm is all at once friendly and personable.
And his sense of goodwill is coming through in a new mission to raise money in the memory of his grandfather, Karl Kaidan, who lost his battle with cancer just last month.
Timm is selling specially made wristbands, metallic gray with the words “Lord Paladin vs. Cancer” printed on them in black lettering.
“Lord Paladin” is what Timm describes as his “stage name,” or alter ego. It’s how he’s known – but the name is not what he likes to focus on.
“The ‘versus cancer’ part is much more relevant,” he said.
Timm said after the experience of watching his grandfather fight and eventually succumb to what was termed a small cell, rapid-growing terminal cancer, “I thought I still want to help somehow.”
He watched the care that was administered to his grandfather though their chosen hospice.
“I’ve seen the kind of things they do,” he said.
As he sells his wristbands for $3 each, he said $1 will go toward purchasing the band itself and $2 from each sale will be donated. Timm plans on giving the money to the nurse who cared for his grandfather, allowing her to decide how the money should be spent.
He has a goal of $1,000 – with approximately $375 raised already.
I initially ordered only 100 (wristbands),” he said. “And those were gone about a week an a half ago.”
Timm said he has sold the wristbands “just around” and sold a considerable amount of them at his grandfather’s wake.
“I got those all gone in about 10 minutes,” he said.
Now, he’s branching out, taking his wristbands and his cause to area businesses. He’s already ordered another 250 that he’s planning to make available in Niles at Pete’s Patio, The Shoppe, The Elks Lodge and The Back Door Cafe in Buchanan.
“Growing up, he was basically my dad,” Timm said of Kaidan. “Their house was always like a home for us.”
Asked about what it was that drove his initial desire to do something to help, Timm takes a moment, thinking carefully.
“I wanted to do it,” he said. “I wanted to do it for him.”
The Niles senior said he’s seen a positive response from those who hear about what he’s doing.
The experience will no doubt be one that stays instilled in Timm. Since the loss of his grandfather he said he has learned “that life is precious. It took me a long time to figure that out.” Before, he said, “I had embraced the philosophy of existentialism, I was a really negative guy.”
But watching as his grandfather fought his illness, Timm said, “it made me feel mortality. Like, I’m going to die one day – I need to make the most of it.”
He plans on selling the wristbands – as long as the response is good – in the hopes of making his goal. The self-professed avid reader also said he’s mulling over the possibility of another fundraiser to raise money for the school library.
When he put his hat in the ring for homecoming king, Timm said contestants were asked to fill out standard questionnaire including information about themselves.
It asked about each person’s plans for the future.
When asked the question again, Timm smiles and repeats his original answer.
“I put, ‘to go straight to the top,’” he said.
Some might say he’s well on his way.