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Meaghan Latone, a Fairport native and non-smoker’s lung canc


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Close to 1,000 rainbow ribbons were handed out Friday to those who came to a funeral service for Meaghan Latone, a Fairport native and non-smoker’s lung cancer activist.

The concept of the ribbons, said her father, Bill Barry of Fairport, symbolized her fight for awareness of the disease she battled for two years, one that receives too little financial support and deserves more research. For instance, other cancers, including breast, prostate and colon cancers, receive a lot of publicity. Breast cancer has a pink ribbon, he said. But, Mrs. Latone would say, there are 72 kinds of cancer.

“Wouldn’t it be nice if there was one ribbon and every one was fought equally?” Barry said. “It gives everyone the chance to be advocates and say, here’s what cancer is about.”

Meaghan Catherine Latone, of North Chili, died Aug. 16 of non-smoker’s lung cancer at the Hildebrandt Hospice at Park Ridge in Greece. Her husband of 12 years, Michael, and several family members and friends were with her. She was 37.

She was born May 5, 1971, and grew up in Fairport. She graduated from Fairport High School in 1989 and later received degrees from Monroe Community College and SUNY Brockport.

Mrs. Latone, who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when she was 14, learned she had lung cancer in May 2006, and she had been receiving chemotherapy continually since that June.

It was only natural that she display as much courage, strength and conviction in her fight against cancer that she gave to the childhood disease that forced her to endure five surgeries and give up her love — dancing.

“She was just a very brave, spunky person who never felt sorry for herself,” Barry said.

She was driven to work with adults with developmental disabilities, but she left her last position at CDS after the birth of her daughter, Mia, to be a stay-at-home mom. Although Mrs. Latone had to give up dancing because of arthritis, her daughter, now 9, became a competitive dancer. The Latones also have a son, Michael, 6.

Barry said she and her family had traveled to a dance competition the week before she died. They also attended hockey games, soccer games — wherever and whatever the family event happened to be.

“The motor in their car never cooled off,” Barry said.

She was as tireless in her fight against cancer as she was supportive of her family. A letter to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle about her illness touched Gail Wagner, a Webster resident who didn’t know Mrs. Latone before learning of her story.

So moved and touched, Wagner helped start Meaghan’s Run in her honor. The inaugural 5K run and walk on April 12 attracted more than 800 runners and walkers and raised more than $57,000 in pledges and donations. Proceeds went to benefit cancer research at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

The intent is to make the run an annual event, and to donate proceeds to a different hospital each year, Barry said.

Since she was first diagnosed, Mrs. Latone’s favorite mantra was “Fight the good fight, every moment, every minute, every day,” according to family friend John Connelly. Her husband, several friends and her father now have tattoos bearing the initials, “FTGFEMEMED” — the first letters of the words of her message.

“She was a wonderful young lady,” Connelly said.

His daughter had a great sense of humor, and everyone knew where they stood with her, Barry said.

“There was no gray,” Barry said. “That was what people loved in her.”

Mrs. Latone is survived by her husband, Michael; children, Mia and Michael Latone; her mother, Elaine Licata and Alix Morton of Florida; father and stepmother, Bill and Chris Barry of Fairport; brother, Sean Barry, and sister-in-law, Pamela Raitt of Philadelphia; brother, Kevin Barry; stepsisters, Laura (Bob) Mullin and Daisy (John Howe) Hutchinson; and brother-in-law, Mathew (Lyn) Latone.

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