Today I decided to share the event on our Shelton High School Class of "75" page as well as I Grew Up In Shelton Ct page.
I was immediately contacted by post, message and emails. Some from my old friends, some were friends of my late brother...some I only knew of from school.
The messages were clearly supportive...that support touched my heart!
The "Valley", as my hometown area is known as, has always had a small town feel. I made many friends through out my years there...many I had not seen in way over 35 years. When a few of us touched base on FaceBook and decided to have a small gathering I was amazed at the people who came out to see me!! It touched my heart and reconnected me with some VERY special friends from my VERY early years! About a year later I was diagnosed with cancer, went through treatment, lost my hair, was very sick...and kind of stayed away! Then my brother died. So many of those same people came from all over to pay their respects or leave a message and send a donation in his honor. Again, I was touched.
I continued to stay in touch with a select few people as I recovered and eventually we decided we should get together...I was worried...I was different...my hair was just growing back and it was silver now!! Not exactly how I want old friends to see me! When I mentioned my concern the out pouring from my friends was thoughtful and loving. I remember Joe telling me he had been going bald for years..."what's the big deal!!"
I am grateful everyday for that connection because it is that connection that brought Sharon and Richie back into my life. Back at a time that Richie needed support and guidance...and Sharon needed a friend to confide in! I was blessed to be there for them the way others had been there for me.
Last year when we were invited to the Photo Shoot Event I reached out to some of my friends and mentioned it. Needless to say MANY of them came out...family and friends!! The organization was pleased! Sharon and Richie were among those that came...in his pink shirt to honor me...It is a day that will forever remain in my heart.
Later that evening many of us joined together...some of us knowing that Rich would soon be finishing his battle. It made him feel good...the way old friends can do! We spent that evening remembering the old days and praying for MORE days!
So, now we have been invited again...and we are happy to do so...but we are smaller by one...Rich did finish his battle and it will hurt a little when we come together and he isn't physically with us ( I know he will be there in spirit)! But when I posted the invite on the pages the people from my hometown made me proud of where and with whom I came from!
Donna, Darlyne, Ann, Frankie, Sharon, Eileen, Linda...so many!! It warms my heart to know I come from a place where people still care about others...even if they don't see them everyday or maybe haven't seen them in over 38 years!! Many of you have decided to come to the photo shoot, some will meet up the night before, some live far away and have made donations to our foundation!! But all of you have WARMED my HEART!! Thank you...it is with people like you that this dream I have of easing the burden for families battling this unfair disease can become a reality!! Thank you for being a part of my dream...and helping us help others the only way we can....day by day.