Monday, July 7, 2014

For Women like Shari

Many people ask me why I spend so much time advocating for ovarian cancer awareness and funds for research. I'm disease free now. Why don't I just get on with my life.  I learned of another reason why last night.

I first met Shari who was also diagnosed with ovarian cancer and her husband Don at a Kaleidoscope of Hope Fundraiser about 5 years ago. My gyn-onc introduced us. We clicked right away and I learned about The Teal Tea Foundation of which she was president. She was in her forties at the time and I was in my early 50's. Other ovarian cancer events and activities kept us in touch.

When I moved to Hightstown, two towns over from where she lived,  we e-mailed each other and attended a few One Force Meetings and Teal Tea Foundation meetings together. In 2013, I sat at her table at the Teal Tea, which is run annually by the Teal Tea Foundation . Another time she ran a special fundraiser for the Teal Tea at the Alex & Ani store in Princeton and I had a chance to meet her two daughters.

In 2013, the lunches started. First it was at the Americana Diner and then we switched to a tiny restaurant in Cranbury called Molto Bene. Molto Bene let us sit there for hours chatting. Sure we talked "business" - my blog and her role at the Teal Tea Foundation. We lamented that fact that there wasn't a screening test for ovarian cancer and that so many research dollars were going to breast cancer research and not enough to ovarian cancer research. And we talked clinical trials that were available in the NY/NJ/PA area. But we talked about so many different things too.

Shari was a pasty chef and over lunch she told me about the classes she taught and also explained to me the correct way to do some common kitchen procedures like separating the yolk from the white part of the egg. What a laugh we had when I told her I needed to be in her class because I didn't follow her advice and dropped egg shell in my batter filled mixer.

We talked about our families- her two wonderful daughters and my children and grandchildren. I spoke about how difficult it is having children and grandchildren living so far away. And we talked about the colleges her oldest daughter might be interested in visiting.

You see Shari was so much more than just another woman with ovarian cancer she was my friend.

I am very sad that Shari and I will no longer be doing lunches. She passed away on July 6th.

Shari is my reason for continuing to raise awareness and funds for research. I will do it to honor Shari. Please keep Shari and her husband Don and two daughters in your prayers.

Every Day is a Blessing

1 comment:

Anne Criscitiello said...

So sad to read this - Shari and I were friends too - she helped me so much when I was first diagnosed. I had lunch with her about a year and a half ago after she had finished her chemo for her reoccurrence - A truly Beautiful Strong Lady.