I had so much fun last night! The event was a giant Expo full of women vendors of all stripes, showing off their wares and skills and businesses. It was so impressive. I’d been invited to sign books and I was able to meet loads of new-to-me readers, which is always a treat.
(This is a side note to Robin, the twelve-year-old book reviewer! I lost your card, so please email me your website info. Thanks!)
As I was sitting at my table, this stunning woman with fuscia hair walked up. I couldn’t help myself: I had to run my hand over her hair and she was very understanding about my urge to do so. Then she told me her story. I thought she would say that she was a cancer survivor who was celebrating the regrowth of her hair after treatment. But I didn’t quite have it right.
Her name is Diane Moore. A year ago, she lost her nine-year-old daughter, Colleen, to cancer. Colleen’s wish, as her own hair began growing back in after chemo, was to dye it her favorite color: pink. To support Colleen, her friends and family also “went pink.” It wasn’t long after that that Colleen lost her battle with her illnes. But that is not at all where this story ends. By some amazing strength I can’t even begin to understand, Diane took on a cause.
Although Colleen had been receiving treatment at a prestigious medical center, she’d received no counseling as part of that treatment. No emotional or spiritual support was offered by the medical center, and Diane knew how much her daughter needed that missing element in her care. In my former career as a hospital social worker, I worked at Children’s Hospital in Washington, DC in the adolescent unit, where meeting the emotional needs of our young patients was viewed as an integral part of treatment, so I was appalled to learn of this gap in Colleen’s care.
As a result of witnessing this lack of support, Diane created a nonprofit organization called Striving for More. You can read her blog and more about the organization here. If only I had more hours in my day, this is where I would volunteer my time. It’s hard to imagine the loss of a child. Harder still to imagine that child without the emotional support that’s so critical to anyone going through such a grueling illness.
Of all the people I met last night, Diane Moore will stay in my mind and heart the longest. It was a joyous and enjoyable event, and meeting Diane, with her pink hair and engaging personality, was anything but a downer. Diane has put her energy where her heart is, and I know her organization will touch many, many lives.