A woman I know more through my wife than my own personal meetings with her, has succumb to her brain tumor and is no longer with us. I hardly knew her myself or at least I hardly knew her in person. My wife grew up with Erin and her family and knowing their family her whole life. Even after finishing college my wife ended up working for both her parents in their Doctor’s office where she is still employed today. She babysat most of their kids growing up, although more frequently Erin’s younger sister and brother. Everything I know about Erin I know through her family and my wife.
About 5 years ago, Erin found out she had a brain tumor after a precautionary MRI was taken following a minor head injury from I believe a bull kicking her. You see she was a veterinarian. She had a passion for animals like no other person I know. She was brilliant young woman that didn’t let boundaries hold her back from doing things. I can’t go into details or I would be typing forever. Her siblings are the same way. A few years ago my wife was baby sitting Erin’s daughter and their dogs while they were off to a function and I was able to snap some pictures of her dogs and her daughter and frame them up to give to her. A pure privilege on my part. I never saw Erin that day, nor did I see her directly to give her the pictures. Yet I knew Erin and knew how great she was and all the things she was capable of. She must have appreciated the photos since I had to run off a second set for her parents.
When she found out about her brain tumor, she adjusted her diet, she challenged every physician to do surgery and she gathered information about her condition like it was just an extension of something she was supposed to do. She pushed on until she found someone who would do the surgery. She knew there was a good chance of having stroke because of this surgery. So she taught herself how to do things left handed including writing and doing sutures so she could still practice as a vet, if indeed she did have a stroke. Unfortunately she did have a stroke and the surgery was not completed the first time. She came though and pushed back and the second surgery was a success.
Then in the last year her tumor came back and grew. She challenged medicine and tried multiple options and continued to educate herself. I have never seen someone fight so much in the five-ish years this went on. My wife has witnessed this fight through the eyes of Erin’s parents on a daily basis at work. Erin’s parents are amazing people. From the time I first met them, I could see where Erin’s determination comes from.
Erin is leaving behind a 4 year old daughter, a husband, mother, father, sister, brothers and many friends and family. I only hope they can reflect on this time and realize how special, touching, motivated and strong she was and take some of that strength for themselves and remember these things as they look back on her life.
I hardly knew Erin, but I knew enough about her, to know that if I had half her determination, motivation, drive and passion I can be a successful person. Not many people come along like her. The sad part for me is this is a girl that I believe would have continued to contribute great things to our world. This loss isn’t just the family’s but also a loss for everyone who she would have touched in her life.
I am dedicating my training and my Half Ironman Race this year to Erin and my Father who I lost 8 years ago from Cancer. I will be wearing the “Hope for a Cure” Bracelet she gave me while training and racing this year.