GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — I was at a recent LaughFest event, getting ready to introduce a local improv group. I'm a big advocate of non-profits that assist cancer patients and their families like LaughFest and its benefactor, Gilda's Club. I have family members who are cancer survivors. And I never got to meet my mother-in-law because she died of cancer when my wife was still a child.

Right before going on stage, I received a text from a friend. It read, "Hey. I just found out Dennis passed away this afternoon."

It was cancer.

Listen to more Alone At The Desk podcasts at:

►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.

Have a news tip? Email, visit our Facebook page or Twitter.