Embracing Every Day as a Gift
Women’s Golf Coach Chris Hess ’93 is known for his belief that “every day is a gift.”
During the summer of 2012, Hess was diagnosed with basal cell melanoma. He underwent surgery and was told he was cancer-free. However, in the summer of 2014, Hess discovered the same type of spot, further inside his ear. After some tests, it was discovered that the cancer had returned and that it had spread from its original location. He had surgery in August 2014, just before students returned to school for the year.
“It was really hard to not be here with my team,” Hess recalls. “But I noticed it did seem to bring the team closer together. There was more unity when I came back.”
Hess remembers the few minutes just before he went into surgery.
“There was a moment when everyone else had to leave and I was all alone,” he says. “They gave me a form to sign that basically explained that there was a chance I might not wake up after the surgery. It was a frightening moment.”
The surgery was successful; however, Hess says he lost all hearing in his right ear as well as his sense of taste. Through the whole ordeal, though, he felt the presence of God.
“I decided I was going to use this to glorify Him — as a testimony of His goodness,” says Hess. “During the five or six weeks of my recovery after surgery, when I wasn’t able to do much of anything, I had a chance to reflect on what I wanted my life to be about. It was just me and God.”
Now cancer-free, Hess is back at Bethel, focusing on building an even stronger women’s golf team and reminding his players that “every day is a gift.”
“It’s always been a meaningful phrase for me, but since going through all of this I’ve realized just how much every day really is a gift,” he says. “Every day is a gift, a chance to love God, love others, and to serve the people around us.”
Since his return, Hess has set up one-on-one accountability partners within the team and initiated morning workouts twice a week.
A Bethel alumnus, Hess has remained involved in and committed to the Bethel community for the past 21 years. In that time, he has served in a variety of roles, and he currently serves as the Assistant Athletic Director and Head Women’s Golf Coach.