Friday, August 3, 2012

R.I.P., Sandra

This past February, I posted about the wife of one of Joe's Endurance Nation's teammates on my Caring Bridge site.  She had a rare liver tumor called Epithelioid hemangioendothelioma (EHE).  The only cure  was a liver transplant.  Sandra battled hard for over six months, but today her husband, Matt, made the agonizing decision to withdraw life support.  Sandra passed away peacefully and without pain this afternoon.  She had rallied hard and Matt was a champion, fighting tooth and nail to get her the best medical care and answers that he could.  Unfortunately, her heart, liver, kidneys and the rest of her body just couldn't bounce back from all the damage and infections it endured during the past six months.  

I only met Sandra once at Ironman Louisville last year, but she impressed me with her kindness.  Sandra had a wide warm smile.  She was an award-winning photographer.  You can see some of her work on her Caring Bridge site:

When Joe raced IM LOU, my hair was just starting to grow back and I had just started the reconstruction process.  I was still going through treatments and my arm was still swelling pretty badly.  Sandra snapped a picture of Joe stopping to give me a kiss during the run.  I cried when she showed it to me.  A little less than a year before, I had gotten my diagnosis of breast cancer.  We had been through a lot; to get to that point was precious to us both.

My heart aches for Matt and Sandra's family, but particularly for Matt.  I can't imagine having to make the choice he did.  It was so apparent that he loved Sandra with all his heart and soul.  I would hope that, put in a similar situation, I could be as strong, level-headed and steadfast as Matt was.

To honor Sandra's memory or that of someone you loved, please consider becoming an organ donor.  There are living and non-living donations.  You can choose what you donate and what you don't.  Remember, even by donating a pint of blood, you are helping give someone else the precious gift of life.

Here are some links to check out:

1 comment:

  1. Gen, this is such a beautiful tribute. I also had the great fortune of meeting Sandra in person just a few times at Ironman races where she was there with a big smile and her camera at the ready. Thank you for taking time in your blog to share this beautiful memory.