Benefit auction set for Rochester veteran with brain cancer

The title of Reini Side’s latest blog item chronicling her husband Clint’s battle against brain cancer isn’t a word used very often by military families: Surrender.

“We are at the point where there is nothing more man or medicine can do,” she posted on Aug. 20. “And we have called hospice in to keep him comfortable (and they have been wonderful).”

But first, the Rochester couple had the chance to enjoy a romantic evening together — “one last date,” as Side described it — with flowers, dessert, wine and love notes at Uncork & Unwind in Tumwater.

When co-owner Michelle Pierce learned about their situation, she offered to host a benefit auction at the wine bar to help raise money for medical bills and other expenses for the family. It will be at 4 p.m. Sunday, and about 50 businesses have donated items to the event.

“It’s going to be great,” said Side’s brother-in-law Lasse Lund of Lacey, who is helping organize the event. “We have just seen a huge outpouring of support for Reini and Clint.”

Clint Side, 30, served in the Army for six years, and was deployed to Iraq four times.

In November 2010, he had just finished training as a gate guard at Joint Base Lewis-McChord when — after several months of migraine headaches — he was diagnosed with one of the most aggressive forms of brain cancer, stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme. At that time, the doctors said he had less than a year to live.

But Clint Side is a fighter, and he underwent multiple surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation.

He was able to buy enough time to experience another kind of miracle: About two hours after midnight on Jan. 1, 2013, the Sides welcomed their daughter Felicity into the world.

For a while, it seemed as though the cancer went dormant. In fact, Side went more than a year without posting an update on her blog, hopeforclint.blogspot.com.

But in March the cancer “returned with a vengeance,” Lund said.

In August, the couple learned that a massive butterfly-shaped tumor had grown to reach both halves of Clint Side’s brain. It was inoperable, and not responding to medicine. He was given a prognosis of one month.

“He’s still with us, but it’s getting more and more dire every day,” Lund said.

On her blog, Side, who works for the state Legislature’s Office of the Code Reviser, wrote that in preparing for the worst, it’s really hard to continue hoping for the best.

“But I do continue to hold out that hope,” she posted. “While man and medicine can do nothing, it’s a perfect time for a miracle. ... We still ask God for it while surrendering all to him.”