Our friend Ann lost her ten-year battle with breast cancer on Sunday at the age of 48. She found her own lump, had no family history, and didn’t carry “the gene.” Ann was the mother of two children, who are now ages 14 and 10. She was a former television reporter in Portland,Maine, turned full-time cancer warrior. While I never knew Ann well, I will fondly remember an afternoon twelve years ago spent chatting and belly laughing with her at a mutual friends’ baby shower. She was hilarious, thoughtful, and when we spoke, I felt she was truly focused on our conversation. Around that same time, her husband Sandy and my husband almost became business partners. When they chose to go different directions with their careers, they stayed in touch the way men do: not very well. I would hear snippets here and there, enough to know that things were really tough, especially after her cancer came back in 2010. How can they not be hard when you were hoping for three kids but instead ended up with two kids and a double mastectomy at age 38?
When Ann started her blog (www.projectpinkdiary.com), I followed it religiously. I’m still in awe of the fact that just a month ago, she was singing in her car on the way to chemotherapy, determined to see the bright side after living with metastatic cancer for over a year. Later, she wrote a book called Pink Tips, “50 tips on what to do when you or someone you love gets breast cancer”. You can purchase it at amazon.com, and I mention this because I know one of her goals was to get into the hands of every woman battling breast cancer.
When searching online for her obituary today, I found this. It features a 17-minute clip from Ann’s documentary, The Breast Cancer Diaries. Whether you know someone struggling with this disease, have lost someone to it, or are battling it yourself I think you will find something in Ann and her story that will inspire you. Please find some quiet time to watch it if you can tonight or whenever time allows. I promise you are not too busy. I promise it will serve as an often-needed reminder about what is really important in your life. I promised you will feel sad you never knew Ann, but hopefully will feel inspired by her courage and determination despite unimaginable circumstances.