Once you entered her life, you were there for keeps. Diane was a devoted wife for 50 years, a loving mother, a Meme, and a life-long friend to many. No matter who you were she would always ask about your day and attentively wait for your response. She did not just hear you, she listened. Diane was intent on helping others, even when she herself was in need. Masked by her amazing optimism and hope, not many knew of the real struggles Diane continually battled.
Diane's medical tribulations began at a young age. She was diagnosed with polio at the age of three and spent most of her childhood in and out of the hospital. Luckily, when Diane was eight, she underwent muscle transplant surgery which enabled her to walk. This medical marvel began Diane's affirmation of the importance of research and patient care.
During her rehabilitation, Diane maintained her friendships by writing notes to family and friends. These notes kept her relationships alive and strong.
Diane's journey with cancer began in 1993 and was filled with many hardships, all of which she met with endless optimism, hope and courage. Despite fifteen years in and out of treatment and multiple side effects, she would still say, "How lucky am I?" Diane felt blessed to have such supportive people in her life, including family, friends, doctors and nurses. The bond that Diane shared with her medical team at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute far exceeded her expectations; she was made to feel as though she were their extended family. Her faith in these individuals and the possibility of finding a cure gave her the confidence to participate in clinical trials and treatments. Even though the benefits of these trials were uncertain, Diane was always willing to try another one. Her determination and commitment to medical research eventually resulted in a trial that became part of protocol. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recognizes the results of this particular clinical trial as "a major turning point in the use of targeted therapies to eliminate suffering and death from cancer." The success of this trial further solidified Diane's affirmation in the importance of research and sustained her hope that a cure would be found someday. "We've come so far, this is why we walk," referring to the Making Strides Walk which she participated in since its inception.
Diane always put her family and friends first, even during her toughest times. She always found the time and energy to send a note or a card to the people in her life. Each note was filled with sincere words of encouragement, kindness, concern and humor. She never missed the opportunity to let you know that she was thinking about you whether it was on your birthday, first day of work, or any random day of the week. Sometimes these notes came at the most opportune time when you needed to be reminded to smile and not sweat the small stuff.
The most remarkable part of Diane's story is that she continued writing notes even through radiation, chemotherapy and overnight stays in the hospital. She took a couple of minutes to remind the people around her that she loved them. This is something that many of us forget to do as we find ourselves caught up in our daily routines and hectic lives. We take the most important and irreplaceable things in life for granted - our family and friends. Even though Diane is no longer with us, her spirit lives on through the hundreds of notes and cards she sent. For those that kept these sentiments, they can read her words, hear her laugh, and see her smile. Continue Diane's tradition and take a few minutes out of your day to write a note to someone you love or who you know is in need of a mailbox smile. A small act of kindness like Diane's can go a long way and last a lifetime.
Diane always wanted to visit the cherry blossom festival.
We did before she passed.
Make memories they last a life time.
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