September 17, 2021 was a day I'll never forget. That was the day I married my best friend, Adam. While it should have been a day filled with only happy emotions, there was undercurrent of sadness. We didn’t pick the 17th by chance; we actually had a long engagement just to make sure that we got to a year when it landed on a Saturday. The reason it mattered so much to us to wait was because in addition to what would be, moving forward, our wedding anniversary, the date already had special meaning for my family. September 17th had been my mother’s birthday and my parent’s wedding anniversary. I have to say “had” because 5 years before the happiest day of my life came the saddest day of my life…the day my mom lost her battle against a brain tumor. My mother was diagnosed with a skull based meningioma on New Year’s Eve, 1998. I was 16 years old and I remember feeling like my whole world had just exploded. At the time my parents played down the seriousness of the situation, emphasizing that it wasn’t cancer. It was a benign tumor…the insurance company even considered it “non-life threatening”. It’s funny how the word that once gave you comfort, “benign”, ends up feeling like a cruel mockery after it robs you of a parent. To be perfectly honest, I don’t remember a lot from the 8 years that she was sick. I’m sure I have blocked most of it out as a coping mechanism. I know there were many years in the middle where she was “good”, as good as someone can be with a tumor inside their head. And then I know that the last two years were bad…very, very bad. I remember watching my parents and not being able to figure out who the disease was harder on. If there were ever two people that were truly soul mates it was my parents. On September 17, 2021 my parents would have been celebrating their 33rd wedding anniversary and my mom's 56th birthday. I would have happily shared the dance floor with the couple that taught me what it meant to be in a loving and committed partnership. Instead my father, sister and I shared a dance to Lullaby by Billy Joel and missed her terribly. In her memory I now commit my life, both personally and professionally, to the mission of finding a cure for brain tumors. As a member of the Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure team I allow the memory of her spirit and positive attitude to inspire me to bring 100% to everything I do
Bringing a piece of my mom into my wedding day.