With August already upon us, I have more than a few times already thought about last August, when I was lucky enough to attend the most life-changing event of my life as of yet.
On August 7th of last year, my Aunt Maura swam in an event called SWIM Across The Sound. It's a fundraiser run by St. Vincent's hospital, and it raises money for cancer patients to cover costs of treatments.
What set Maura apart from all of the other inspirational swimmers involved in the 15.5 mile fundraiser swim relay, was that Maura was dying of cancer when she did the swim.
The irony is that Maura never would have described herself as "dying", even up until her last day. She was full of life and passion and a desire to raise money for other people suffering from cancer. I truly think in all of her training and effort before and during the swim, she was never doing it for herself, always for others.
Her teammates were very fittingly her three sons, my cousins, David, Danny & Bart and her doctor.
Maura was a fighter. She fought a breast cancer diagnosis in 2007, and then she fought a Leukemia diagnosis in 2008, but after a bone marrow transplant, her body just couldn't seem to keep up with her spirit.
Maura died on Monday September 27th, 2010 in the company of her dear husband Bill. She was 53 years old.
And let me be clear, as much as I miss Maura and mourn for her children losing their incredible mother, and Bill losing the love of his life, and the whole planet for losing such an inspiration, Maura would want me to plug the race. Not promote her. :)
So I will. I'll let you know that although Maura is gone, the SWIM Across The Sound continues to raise money for cancer patients who desperately need it. This cause was such a passion for Maura that she was willing to push her body beyond its own limits to be a part of it.
dedicated to Maura, in her memory. If you're near Westport, Connecticut on August 6th, you should consider going and watching this wonderful event. And if you can't be there, please consider supporting a swimmer here.
Although I'm again wiping tears from my cheeks when rehashing these memories of My Sweet Aunt Maura, I think it's best to end by showing you a video taken at the race last year. My favorite part is at the end, where in her greatest accomplishment, she won't walk up the ramp without her boys. And she finishes that race the same way she finished life, with her head up and cheering.