The Presidio, San Francisco, CA
June 21, 2002
First I would like to say that I'm in awe of the Drumke Family. They have taught me a lot about how to deal with pain. Also, I would like to thank all of Danielle's San Francisco friends for helping her through her illness and helping me and all of Danielle's friends from Chicago with the knowledge that Danielle was well taken care of and loved out here. Thank you also for opening your homes to Danielle and her friends. I would also like to thank Mila and Joey for keeping Danielle's website up to date and online. The website assured those of us who couldn't see Danielle every day that she was enjoying life.
I have known Danielle for as long as I can remember. We've been friends since she was brought home from the hospital. Mrs. Drumke reminds me that we met when Danielle was 8 days old. So I was just over 3 months. Well, I learned a lot in those first 3 months. Danielle and I have always been friends. We've always able to count on each other--except for a few months back in 5th grade. I don't know what happened, but we just didn't get along. She was as close to being my twin as you can be without being blood-related.
I love Danielle for her love of life and for her desire to experience everything she wanted. When we were little, we both went to try out for little league, and we were both cut. Well, the next year when I was too much of a coward to try out again, but she went out and made the team. This was very impressive because most of the kids a year older than her didn't make the team. She played that season of little league and went on to play pony league. She decided that she wanted to play, and she made it happen.
Just last summer Danielle came out to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where my family has a house. She wanted to go skiing--slaloming to be more exact. She kept almost getting up. I must have tried to get her up 6 or 7 times. Just a few attempts can be exhausting for someone who is in good shape. For someone with cancer and a brain tumor it must have seemed impossible. Well, she kept trying. That may have been because I refused to let her into the boat or because she had decided that she was going to get up no matter what. If I had to guess I would say the latter.
Danielle had an energy that you don't see in many people. I would love to tell you a story of how she captured a room with her energy, but my story wouldn't compare to your own experiences. You see, I don't have the juice to do a Danielle impersonation. I would be doing your own memory of her a disservice. Danielle loved life. She lived everyday like it was her last. I know that saying gets used a lot, but with Danielle it is the truth. Very few people shine as bright as Danielle. To bask in her light was truly amazing. It is a shame that her light couldn't last longer.
Danielle said that she wanted us to celebrate her life. If there was ever a life that should be celebrated it is Danielle's.
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