Posted by: Jenn Latino
Tuesday started as a typical day. Fight with the dogs about an appropriate wake up time, get ready for work, visit the Orientation session, head to the office….the afternoon held a 3 mile walk (easy these days!) and some exciting TV with Jillian Michaels. Fairly routine, nothing special-just my kind of day.
After lunch, I received a message from a friend and former classmate at FSU, Caroline Joy White. Caroline’s aunt Jean was in my list of people that I honored with my 2009 walk as she battled inflammatory breast cancer. Aunt Jean was much more than “my mother’s sister” to Caroline. Last year Caroline and her husband Mike left sunny FL to move to their home state of Massachusetts to help Aunt Jean with her insurance business while she battled her cancer.
On Monday, Aunt Jean lost her fight to this terrible disease. Caroline’s message to me included a beautiful reflection of the resilience that Jean showed, even when her health was failing. “Working side by side, I saw the effects the cancer had on her but the one thing it never took from her was her undeniable fighting spirit. Jean is an inspiration in so many ways but no matter how ugly this disease was, she always smiled and never complained. Incredible. She is now back in one piece and enjoying a glass of wine up in Heaven, toasting all of us!”
Caroline and Mike participated in the Komen 2-Day event just 3 weeks ago. Aunt Jean was there, cheering them on from the sidelines! I know that she will be with Team New Kids on the Walk in October, cheering us on!
Our team dedicated our Tuesday walks to Aunt Jean. It was a beautiful journey for me. Just as I left home, the temperature began to drop and I enjoyed a breezy stroll through my neighborhood, and after a long afternoon of many tears, I smiled as my mind was filled with thoughts of Aunt Jean-a woman I have never met, but will never forget.
I can relate to Caroline’s love for her aunt. I am an aunt to three amazing children and I hope they see me as more than just “their mother’s sister.” I have 4 aunts, all of who have made incredible impacts on my life! Tragedies like these are happening to aunts, mothers, sisters, fathers, brothers, every day! THIS is why we walk! THIS is why we put in the hours to train! THIS is why we reach out to family and friends and ask them to support the research that is being done to find a cure and the right prevention for breast cancer. We are taking the steps to ensure that your children, my niece, the women in my classes, and Aunt Jean’s across the world WILL know a life without breast cancer!
Please keep Caroline and her family in your thoughts this week. They have certainly been very much part of mine. This photo of Caroline, a beautiful bride, and Jean, is only one of the many memories this aunt/niece duo shared. Cheers to you, Aunt Jean! Cheers!