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My family is dedicating the 2010 DFW Walk to ConnieB


KatieB

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The world lost a great lung cancer advocate today and I lost my dearest friend .

Connie Berchem (ConnieB) was a 15 year lung cancer survivor. She was instrumental in setting up the first lung cancer support group in Mlps/StP and lobbied at her state capital for more funding for lung cancer patients.

In between all that, she was a huge support to so many people affected by lung cancer. She was tenacious and driven and stubborn.

Personally, she helped me start my own lung cancer foundation in 2002. She encouraged and supported me and even sat on the board of directors of the Lung Cancer Support Community. She became a great friend who was there for me when my dad died of lung cancer and again 3 years later when I suddenly lost my mom. I was emotionally lost and lonely, and she picked me up, dusted me off and sent me back into the world with her love and support. She sent books on grieving and books for children who had lost loved ones to cancer to help my kids thru their hardest times. She came to visit and called everyday.

She wrapped my little family up in encouragement and love and support.

Her passing came about 6 weeks after she entered the hospital with shortness of breath, but the gravity of her illness and death came very suddenly to me. She was ConnieB, strong and resilient and everlasting…this wasn’t supposed to happen to her.

Her story was one of miracles having survived the deadliest cancer, lung cancer, the death of a child and subsequent heart issues due to radiation and chemotherapy. She survived dangerous heart surgeries and lived life to the fullest and seemed to be doing very well until those last 6 weeks. No one knew what was happening in her body. The last scans she had in March were encouraging and didn’t reveal any hints about what was to come.

Not only did her lung cancer come back, she had ovarian cancer now too, a mass to her neck and her heart was finally failing. She left the hospital and went into hospice care.

I was able to talk to her 1-2 times a week until this last week. I have a treasured voicemail that I’ve listened to a half dozen times already today….

I’m so sad for her family. I’m so sad for my family. I’m sad for all those she touched in some way who will definitely grieve her loss.

A few months ago we were talking about her trip to Texas and how I was trying to get her to come during my lung cancer walk. We were so excited about the possibility of her and Maurie coming.

Now, my family will be dedicating the DFW Walk for LUNGevity to her memory. My son Hunter even started a Team in her honor today. Please click here to see his page: www.lungevity.org/hunter2010

Oh my dear friend…my days will be long without your laughter and encouragement in it.

God bless your soul. May you be wrapped in the warmth of God, the love and familiar arms of your parents, sister and son.

I will miss you every day of my life.

You’ll never fully know how much you touched and changed us.

Love you always,

Kateroo and family.

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Oh bugger! I'd like to put something a little stronger there but then I may lose my post.

I can't beleive she's gone, Oh Katie my heart is heavy for you, you've lost a very special friend. I know how you feel and it's a dreadful weight to carry. Somehow when you lose someone this special it's a different pain than losing a family member - this is a person you have chosen to have in your life, to love and confide your fears and successes to.

I wish I could take some of this pain for you.

My condolences

Geri

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I feel very sad this morning. I am one of those many people that Connie gave support and hope to. She was a very strong woman. I met her here on this website when I was first diagnosed. That was over five years ago. She was one of the first people to give me hope. I have made a donation on Hunter's web page. I know that Connie would like that, because it will help in the fight against this awful disease. I thank God for allowing ConnieB to be there for me when I was so very afraid and overwhelmed. My sincere condolences to her family and also to Katie and her family.

Carol

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my condolences Katie!! I know she will always be in your heart!! and thats what counts the most! She was a true inspiration to so many here and wherever she went and advocated at!! she was and will always be one of many wonderful people I have met through here that I will miss dearly!

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Hi KatieB,

This is the one thing my relatives and friends are concerned for me about my attachment to LCSC,the impact on me at the sudden loss of a friend I have developed here to this bloody disease.

The loss of Connie here dosnt leave me dispirited,yes it is sad,but knowing Connie has done more for me when she was around the boards,then remembering her sad departure.Her spirit will live on in our memories of her,in the wonderful assistance she gave us in strengthening our fight against governmental and general public apathy and indifference towards improving support and research funding required to make real improvements in ending the grip this disease has on human beings all over the world.

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Katie, sorry I'm coming in late. I responded to this loss on the Air and just realized I didn't post here. I got as far as the link for the donation and realized I didn't have my cc handy. I promise I will get it when I get up and help with the dedication of the walk to Connie.

My condolences to the family and to you Katie. I know what it's like to lose a dear friend who became a friend of the family. My sweet Jim is gone two years now. Friends we share everything with just leave a big old hole in our lives. I am sorry you are having to go thru this.

Judy in KW

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I am so sorry to hear that ConnieB is gone. She was a tremendous source of comfort and inspiration. I will miss her..... for now.

But one day, we will all be together again. We'll get to talk to each other face to face. And there will be a ton of things to do and laugh about. And with ConnieB there, we will have fun.

Barb

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