Nothing in life is guaranteed. No matter how hard we try, we can't predict the future in any way, and we have to learn to adapt to whatever circumstances are thrown in our direction. That said, I'd like to introduce you to 27-year-old Deanna Winick of Greeley, Colorado. At the young age of twelve, Deanna met and fell in love with Tony, whom she met casually at a friend's house. The two became inseparable, spending as much time together as they could. At sixteen, Tony bought a Mustang and began fixing it up. Deanna would help in the garage, and she quickly learned the intricate parts of custom building. Tony's main goal was to one day drive a '61 Impala and showcase it on the biggest stage in Colorado; the Denver Lowrider Magazine show. Deanna, like everything in the couple's life, shared Tony's enthusiasm for this dream wholeheartedly.
With finances tight for the young couple, sending a car to a shop to get work done wasn't an option. While most kids were playing video games or going to the mall, Tony and Deanna were building cars. Tony became so talented in working on his own vehicle his friends began asking for his help on their cars as well. A stout perfectionist, Tony would spend hours making sure his work was done the right way. The hard work paid off at local shows, earning Tony and Deanna first place trophies every time. The couple soon married and had two beautiful boys, Tru and Turk.
In 2005, Tony began to experience severe pain in his mouth, the pain got so bad that he eventually saw a doctor. After a series of painful tests, Tony received the devastating news that he had a form of oral cancer. Life as the Winicks knew it, was about to change. Through the pain, Tony never missed a beat; knowing that time might be something he did not have much of, so he jump-started his dream, and within months he found and purchased a stock 1961 Chevy Impala convertible. The chrome parts were ordered and the Impala was brought home for work, on the same day that Tony's first surgery was scheduled. Nine hours later, Tony came out of surgery and couldn't speak; so he quickly grabbed a pen and paper and wrote down a note for his bride, Deanna. The note read, "Did the chrome parts come in?" Holding tears back, Deanna smiled and said, "Yes, they did."
Just two days after surgery, Tony was in the garage again. His friends came to help and sat in amazement at the dedication he had towards his dream. "Hey, if I give that up, I might as well die now because this is what I love." Tony would say. With the help from his friend, Randy Paro, the '61 was rapidly shaping up into a full-custom masterpiece. The entire build was scheduled around all of the numerous surgeries Tony needed to try to beat this disease. He went through four long surgical battles of the cancer; and as his body started to deteriorate, he never once complained. In 2009, "Dead Serious" was showcased on the center floor in Denver. Tony's dream had come true.
Shortly after the show, Tony lost the ability to talk, as the cancer was getting savagely worse. To adapt, Deanna learned sign language to better communicate with her soul mate. He continued to make adjustments and custom additions to the Chevy, and his next goal was to repaint and finish off the interior. On February 17, 2010, Tony lost his battle with cancer with Deanna by his side. "He fought so hard and treated me and our children like prizes." Deanna shares with us. "We meant everything to him, and he was my hero." she adds. If your eyes are welling up, take a number, as you are not alone.