Quayle honored by family at half marathon

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Watching the wildfires rage through sections of Colorado last summer, Anthony Quayle composed a poem both powerful and beautiful at the urging of his sister Edie Zambrano that captured the spirit of a furious blaze and the struggle that ensues when trying to control it.

"You relish in the attention and awe you so artfully commanded," Quayle wrote in his sister's car. "Aided by the burning rays of the sun, glorified by the scorching winds, you have demonstrated to us once again, through your indiscriminate calm fury that we cannot bottle fate. Now we must only wait for painful, beautiful rebirth."

Four months after writing "You Little Fire," Anthony died of lymphoma.

Just six weeks after being diagnosed with a rare form of the disease, it took control of his body, despite efforts to fight it off. But just as Anthony wrote: there is no bottling fate -- in fire or in life.

Perhaps subconsciously he knew something was terribly wrong.

The poem was just one of several things Anthony wrote and shared with his family in the months preceding his diagnosis that spoke of the delicate balance between life and death.

But at 25, Anthony was the baby of the Quayle family and so full of life. His family didn't think to read between the lines. They just listened to him sing songs on answering machines, recite poems in Chinese or Vietnamese, play the violin, ride his skateboard and watched him smile.

Madeline Quayle, Anthony's mother, said the family has wondered about the messages in Anthony's literary works but doubts he knew anything.

Anthony's father, Ed Quayle, said perhaps Anthony's seemingly prophetic messages were intended to help the family with the painful rebirth mentioned at the conclusion of "You Little Fire."

"The thing that I keep thinking now for the six or seven months that have lapsed and look at the things Anthony did, it's almost like I don't know if he knew, but it's almost like the Lord was doing these things to prepare us," Ed said. "It's kind of ironic. ... I thought we could help him lick this with the treatments. He had a really strong will to lick it too."

Even before Anthony died, the will to do anything physical escaped Maddie Quayle, Anthony's sister, with every breath she found the strength to take.

"When Anthony was diagnosed, I lost all desire to run," she said. "I started to grieve even before he died. It took having a cause to get me running again."

As part of Team in Training, Ed and Madeline, Maddie, Ed Quayle, Anthony's oldest brother, and Laura Nelson, another of Anthony's older sisters, will take part in Steamboat's Half Marathon on June 1.

Only two of Anthony's five siblings -- Edie and Patricia -- aren't running. Edie became pregnant three weeks after Anthony died after trying for nearly five years to do so. Patricia, the sister closest to Anthony in age, has two children and lives in Cincinnati.

"It's given us a real cause, and we know Anthony is enjoying every minute of it," Ed said.

Team in Training is the world's largest endurance sports training program. Operated through the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, TNT provides runners with coaching and training. In turn, runners raise money that goes toward patient care and continued research to find a cure for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

Each runner needed to raise $1,500 to participate in the Steamboat Marathon and Half Marathon.

At first, the idea of raising money seemed an overwhelming task to undertake. Now, the dinner table that seats eight at Ed and Madeline's Littleton house nary has room for two plates, as pictures of Anthony and piles of fund-raising papers serve as a makeshift tablecloth.

The family has raised $18,000.

"We don't see a reason to stop," Maddie said.

Anthony spent most of his 25 years trying to make his parents proud. He was the only one of six children who didn't attend college.

On October 28, 2002, Ed was given a certificate from Col. Martin Neubauer, saying Senior Airman John Anthony Quayle had received the Air Force Commendation Medal for meritorious service from March 11, 1998, to October 24, 2002.

Only then did the Quayles learn just what their son had been doing. Fluent in Vietnamese and Chinese, Quayle was a cryptologic linguist, producing 112 concise translations of the team's most difficult documents, resulting in the issuance of 26 high-priority intelligence reports to the White House and other national-level consumers.

"I was proud," Ed said. "Anthony was a man without guile. He thought outside the tank ... I'm having T-shirts made up that will have his picture transferred on front and back with all our sponsors. If it's too hot for cotton I'll have it printed on those paper patches racers wear. I want his name on my back so everyone that passes me has to see it."

Then Ed let out a little laugh. He's 67 and not so sure he'll be at the front of the half marathon pack, but everyone running the marathon -- all 500 -- will be behind him and some, including the winner, might just pass him by.

Perhaps Anthony's spirit will give those runners the strength to continue on, because it certainly has inspired a family.

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