My dear friends, this week’s post is not for the faint of heart.
A friend of mine in Tampa, who battled an inoperable brain tumor for nearly two years, died Sunday. Michelle brought so much light and love and positivity to everyone she met — long before her fight and all throughout it — so it’s no wonder she took her final breath on Valentine’s Day.
I’ve struggled to put coherent sentences together to express how deeply saddened I am for her devoted husband, Ryan, and the entire Fighter community. In ~23 months, Michelle and co. raised nearly $200,000 for brain cancer research and awareness. Petite as she was, her spirit could not be contained.
We met in 2012 through a volunteer organization, High Hopes in High Heels. She was already a Board Member and quickly inspired me to join its leadership. One of my first memories with Michelle had us both snort-laughing and crying over ridiculous stories and inappropriate jokes. She then led our team to reinvent the Children Cancer Center’s Teen Prom, an event celebrating the brave adolescents battling various forms of cancer. This was years before her own diagnosis, and still, Michelle gave countless hours and effort to make the event a huge success.
Whether we were cuddling puppies at a Yappy Hour for adopted canines, toasting with rummy bears on the beach or crashing a wedding, Michelle’s presence was always warm, wacky and welcoming.
Michelle’s network of family and friends around the country have posted continuous messages of hope and positivity. If you’re able, consider donating or purchasing from the Fighter store. In any event, Michelle’s spirit will continue to live on as we aim to BElieve THEre is GOOD in the world.
Rest in peace, sweet angel.