Marci and I met at the park 8 years ago. We have sons the same age with similar interests. I knew we were kindred spirits when I saw her carefully take a clorox wipe from her bag and wipe down a surface; we share an aversion to germs. We also bonded over the health benefits of organic food and stainless steel water bottles. That day I learned that she had had breast cancer in her twenties. After radiation and chemotherapy treatments and a unilateral mastectomy, Marci was cancer free. She married and gave birth to two beautiful children.
Two years ago Marci had a recurrence of cancer. She has fought courageously to beat it. She is selfless, and in spite of her diagnosis and prognosis, she continues to put others needs above hers; her children's, her husband's, her friends'.
Marci's strength and grace are an inspiration. I am humbled by her tenacity and dignity as she battles this terrible disease. I want Marci to know how much she inspires me and so many others. Last night, at a gathering of Marci's closest friends, those to whom she and her husband had just told she has weeks to live, I gave her my Giving Key. My husband had given it to me a year ago with the word INSPIRE inscribed on it because he said I inspire my students. But the real inspiration is Marci. Cancer ". . . cannot kill friendship. It cannot shut out memories. It cannot silence courage. It cannot reduce eternal life."