MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) - A Bob Jones High School graduate of the class of 2002 got his wish: to spend his final hours in north, Alabama, following a diagnosis of a rare, aggressive form of melanoma.
"They told him the other day that there's not much they can do to save him," said Sammy Ajjuri, classmate and best friend of Todd Askew.
Askew and his family live in Flagstaff, Arizona. But it was his dying wish to be back in north Alabama to share his hometown with his children; those very children have long been his focus.
Askew passed away Wednesday night, hours after our initial stories on him aired.
Askew's four-year-old daughter, Avari, has Diamond Blackfan Anemia and she has to have blood transfusions every 3-5 weeks.
"Even after finding out about his cancer, he continued to work 80 hours a week," explained Ajjuri.
"I'm a mother myself," said BJHS classmate Barbie Sumner. "I think about having my child sick, like Todd and his family have been going through, and I can't imagine that struggle. But then to know you, yourself are ill. You're put on this earth to raise your children and take care of them and they're struggling with that right now."
Though it's been more than ten years since Askew graduated, he was a standout at BJHS as a student, football player, and thespian.
"It's difficult as a teacher you never want to see someone you loved an cherished in your class not be able to go on and do the thing you know theyre capable of," said fine arts department lead Dwayne Craft. "Even more tragic when it's someone as sweet as Todd."
"He's got the Bob Jones community behind him," said Robby Parker. He is currently assistant superintendent for the district but was assistant principal when Askew graduated. "I'm sure many others [support him] as well, but we love him and he's still a daggone Bob Jones Patriot."
Askew's funeral was Saturday at Woodward Avenue Baptist Church in Muscle Shoals.
Sunday, there will be a vigil for Askew and the family left behind at 7 pm at Discovery Middle School.
How you can help:
Or, the Todd Askew Fund at Redstone Federal Credit Union - Account number: 51009155327
Even if you cannot donate monetarily, you are asked to show support on the Facebook page created to share encouraging words.