WILKINS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Tony Guarino’s passion for bowling was instilled by his father and uncle.
It’s a love affair that’s lasted more than 40 years and generated countless friendships and a lot of near misses before one perfect game with a Storm bowling ball.
“I was just amazed at it when I threw that,” he said.
So you can imagine his heartbreak when he was told he can never play the game again.
“My lower back is all cancer cells all the way into my pelvis,” Tony said. “If I twist wrong or I step wrong I fracture my back, I’m done.”
At 48 years old, Tony was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer four years ago just after he married Stacy and together they have endured all that comes with a downhill slide despite chemo and endless treatments.
It was only natural they would together plan for the inevitable.
“‘Honey … I’ve been with Storm for 15 years, Storm Bowling. I’m curious – would they make an urn for me,’” Tony said to his wife.
And not just any urn.
“A bowling ball urn. I’ve bowled for how many years. Why not be buried in a bowling ball for the rest of my life?”
When Tony started telling his friends his plan, they thought he was joking, but once Stacy realized he was serious, she called the company.
On the other end Mike Seargent said they had never made an urn before, but they would be honored to do so. When the Storm urn arrived, Stacy was home alone and opened the box.
“And I looked at it and I started to cry because I thought I knew what was coming but it still it’s like something so final and it’s kind of scary,” she said.
But despite the reality of the situation and a lack of insurance since he had to quit his job, Tony smiles when he thinks of his friends’ reaction saying they want to use it once he’s inside.
“No, absolutely not,” Stacy said.
Instead, it will go in Tony’s ball bag with the ball his father used and his favorite ball.
“And he’ll go in the third slot on top so he’s No. 1,” Stacy said.
But between now and then, Tony holds out hope.
“Maybe someday I’ll be able to throw a bowling ball one or two times before I pass away,” he said. “It’s all what the doctor says.”