Chip Miller was known world-wide for his love of Corvettes, his Corvette collection and for creating the largest Corvette show in the world, Corvettes at Carlisle.
He and his close friend Bill Miller founded the successful automotive event production company, Carlisle Events and purchased the Carlisle, Pennsylvania Fairgrounds.
Chip was diagnosed with primary Amyloidosis in December of 2003 and passed away on March 25, 2004. Currently, there is no cure for the disease.
Chip and his family used a journal on the web site www.CaringBridge.org to stay in contact with their friends and family. He described his condition in his journal entry.
"The doctors say there is also no known reason some people are singled out with the Amyloid disease, but only 1,200-3,200 cases are reported worldwide per year. Others certainly perish undiagnosed."
Chip first noticed that he was always tired and felt out of shape, even though he was "always in high gear," as he put it, and had been in excellent shape. He would become short of breath easily and he seemed to be retaining fluid.
"I raced at Summit Point at the end of September. I'm glad I did — it was the first time I really competed with my '59 SVRA Corvette and enjoyed it. I literally was out of steam each time I pulled the car in. Again, I thought something was wrong with me, but it didn't knock me over the head say 'go to the hospital!'
"The next weekend was Fall Carlisle, and I wasn't myself. Some shortness of breath and some more fluid buildup. I did the best I could, but... sleep seemed to be more necessary than ever before.
"Just after Fall Carlisle was the Hershey Flea market. I started walking it in 1970 or 1971 with Bill Miller. In 1973 we conceived the Carlisle swap meet during the show. We've never missed a Hershey show since, and 2003 was no exception. Only problem was, I was out of steam."
As few months later, in December, Chip was diagnosed with Primary Amyloidosis. Chip went to the Mayo Clinic (www.MayoClinic.org in Rochester, Minn., on March 3 to begin preparing to receive stemcell treatment. Shortly after arrival, he underwent surgery to remove a blood clot in his arm, and steroid treatment for a blood clot in his heart. The stem cell treatment was delayed until the clot in his heart dissolved.
Complications from steroid treatment resulted in Chip being re-admitted to the hospital on March 17. At that point, the doctors ruled out the stem cell treatment option out of concern for Chip's ability to handle the treatment. The family began planning a trip home where Chip would receive Hospice care.
Sadly, Chip's health deteriorated quickly, and he was not able to return home. He died on Thursday, march 25. Chip's life was celebrated with nearly 500 friends and family at a memorial service in Carlisle, PA.
Amyloidosis occurs when enough abnormal protein, called amyloid, builds up in one or more organs to cause a malfunction.
Amyloid is an abnormal protein that originates in bone marrow. The heart, kidneys, nervous system and gastrointestinal tract are most often affected by the disease.
A physical exam can determine if organs are working properly. Doctors may also test blood, urine and bone marrow. Blood or urine tests can detect Amyloid protein, but only bone-marrow tests or other small samples of tissue can positively establish a diagnosis.
Treatment is aimed at limiting further production of the Amyloid protein through medications and diet. The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., also offers newer therapies, such as stem-cell transplants.
Signs and symptoms of Amyloidosis depend on the organs affected. The wide range of signs and symptoms makes it difficult to diagnose, and there may even be no symptoms. Some signs and symptoms may include:
The mission of the Chip Miller Charitable Foundation is to raise funds for the research, education and awareness of Amyloidosis, and related diseases.
The Foundation is supported by:
For more information about the Foundation, making donations or purchasing pins, call or visit their web site.
Donations should be sent to:
Chip Miller Charitable Foundation
1000 Bryn Mawr Road
Carlisle, PA 17013