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From the Editor: In Memory



It amazes me to think that I got married twenty years ago this month. As of this writing, big plans are underway for a surprise getaway, and with every family gathering, reminiscing  has centered on what happened that day.

The varied impressions of moments shared, or how an incident is remembered by one person and forgotten by another, are telling. But talk so far has painted a special picture for those who weren’t there, like my son, and has brought back memories for the rest of us of those we’ve lost since then.

What’s left is bittersweet reflection. My husband remembers dancing with his grandmother; my favorite uncle and I toasted each other. I’ve also been thinking about my father and what we shared that day.

Anyone who knew him will tell you he was the life of every party, always laughing, telling tales and cracking jokes. On that May day we also stole a few private moments that included reassuring smiles (his would light up his whole face), big hugs and a few happy tears. Most of all, I remember pulling him aside to wish him a happy birthday, which was the next day. As I handed him his present, he told me my happiness was his greatest gift. I can still hear him saying that. He was gone five years later.

Grief, as we all know, is complicated and unpredictable. Clearly my upcoming anniversary has triggered memories, and another chance to reflect on his loss, even after all these years. Which brings to mind another time, shortly after his death, when I heard about plans for The Walk, a small fundraiser for the Bennett Cancer Center. That year I walked in Shippan in my father’s memory with a few hundred others to raise about $150,000 for patient services at the BCC.

The Walk, now known as Hope In Motion, became an annual family tradition, rain or shine, and each year we saw the number of participants grow and the amount of funds raised increase. (Last year brought in almost $1 million.) We eventually welcomed runners and bikers to the race and recently moved to a new start at Columbus Park. But the shared objective to support patients at the BCC has never changed.

Randi Price, Lori Baden and Marc Leferman tell us in an UpClose profile that they are motivated by the same goal thanks to their mother, the late Nancy Leferman. They will walk June 5 in her memory with their extended family under the banner of the Sock It To Cancer team, which Nancy, inspired by the cause, created years back when she was diagnosed with cancer.

Nancy’s kids will join the thousands of other participants expected this year, all bound by the same intentions that brought out those few hundred in 1996. Though Nancy is gone, they say, her call to help people in treatment and honor those we’ve lost will keep them devoted to the cause for years to come.

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