From Mila: During the 20 months that Danielle battled with brain cancer, our family was continuously stunned by the decisive and creative ways in which her vast community came forth. What was most inspiring to me was the fact that her community was mostly comprised of young adults who, by nature of their youth, had little experience with illness and death. Certainly, almost none of them had cared for a peer who suffered from grand mal seizures and was losing the ability to communicate, and most of them had never stepped foot in a hospice. But I don't recall one person who flinched when faced with the ever-increasing challenges of Danielle's life. Instead, friends, coworkers, teammates, and acquaintances marched straight into battle with Danielle as a guide. As Danielle's friend Krista said, "Danielle's tribe was large." And, what's more, it continued to grow. From this, it became clear to me that everyone wanted to do something, to provide comfort, to be of use. It is my hope that someone beginnning a journey similar to Danielle's will stumble upon this list late at night, find some sense in it and ask for the help they need. And if you are someone who is searching for a way to help a friend who is ill, I hope this list provides some inspiration. What follows is certainly incomplete. There are people who helped Danielle's in ways I don't know about, and people I'm sure I've forgotten here, but this list does, I hope, tell Danielle's story in a most life-affirming way.
Thanks to Claire Kelley, who was on her first date with Danielle when Danielle began complaining of a headache and started throwing up. Claire immediately took Danielle to the ER at UCSF and called the only friend of Danielle's she had met, Susan Baker. Weeks after Danielle's surgery, Danielle and Claire began dating. Thank you, Claire, for taking care of Danielle for so many months, for being her advocate and making sure she got the attention she deserved from her doctors, and for doing tons of research. Thank you also for loving her, and for being her closest companion during that time.
Thanks to Susan Baker and Kate Manning for their never-failing support. Susan answered Claire's call, rushed to the hospital, and remained there with Danielle until our mom arrived. She then kept me and my brothers updated until we could get on flights. Kate and Susan took Danielle in for the next month, during which their home was absolutely taken over by visitors. Even under these trying conditions, they were the most gracious hosts. Thank you both for giving Danielle a place she could always retreat to and for dropping everything whenever she needed you. And thank you for doing the same for Joey and me. Thank you for feeding us, for looking into hospice care, for helping to pack and move Danielle, for visiting her almost daily when she moved to Zen Hospice, and for bringing her root beer, food, flowers, movies, and books. Thank you also for lending Joey your car for weeks at a time when he needed it and for helping to create a glorious memorial celebration in Danielle's honor.
Thanks to Danielle's college friend Jennie Abbott for having the presence of mind to set up a website and send out the word to Danielle's friends before Danielle's first surgery on October 9, 2000. The guest book Jennie created on October 6, 2000, was transfered to this site on November 10, 2000. It is now so large that it contains more than 2,000 entries. Thank you, Jennie, for the paper crane mobile you made for Danielle before her first surgery. She carried it with her, and it always hung in the air above us, a symbol of hope.
Thanks to my college friend Zoe Keating for inviting Joey and I to stay with her in her San Francisco home during Danielle's first surgery and again for two months while Danielle was living at Zen Hospice. Thanks also to Bronwen, Aaron, Jeff and John for allowing us to remain in their space for so long. Thanks also, Zoe, for helping me to throw a birthday party for Joey, for performing so beautifully at Danielle's memorial service, and for shipping some very heavy boxes to us in New York.
Thanks to the clerk at Ben and Jerry's on Castro, who gave Danielle a brain-tumor discount the night before her first surgery.
Thanks to the folks at 2223 on Market Street, for giving my family a private room the night before Danielle's first surgery, and for making Danielle so comfortable once again at dinner in May, when Joey, Kate, Susan and I took her out for the last time. We were worried that the stimulus and the noise in the restaurant might cause her to seize, but they snuck us in early and kept the volume down throughout the entire meal. Both evenings were fabulous times that we will all remember forever.
Thank you to Karen Hagewood, Cara Lisco, Sharaine Bell and Steve Abernathy of SquareTrade. Danielle had been an employee of SquareTrade for only three weeks when she was diagnosed with stage IV brain cancer. Nonetheless, her supervisors kept her on, even though they had to make cutbacks. When Danielle could no longer work full-time, they paid her for a five-hour work week, even when she slept at her desk or was not well enough to come into the office. Moreover, they made sure she had health insurance until she died. As a direct result, Danielle was able to remain permanently in San Francisco, the city of her dreams. Each time I thanked Karen Hagewood for her help, her response was simply, "Danielle is family." Thanks also to all of Danielle's coworkers at SquareTrade for being unafraid to ask her how she was doing, for visiting her in the hospital, for sending cards, and for thinking to invite her to office parties when she was home recovering from chemo. Thanks especially to Caitlin Williams and Sharaine Bell for collecting donations from everyone in the office and creating a grocery account for Danielle at The Box. Danielle received a delivery of organic produce every week, courtesy of her coworkers. When she was unable to eat in her last weeks, the other residents at Zen Hospice enjoyed the beautiful fruits and vegetables. Thanks, Caitlin, for spearheading the Joan Jett initiative and for accompanying Danielle to the concert. Meeting Joan Jett was one of the highlights of her last year.
Thanks to Jon Rosensweig, a friend of our cousin Steven. Jon works with AIDS survivors, helping them to navigate the Social Security and Medi-Cal systems. At no cost, he spent many hours coaching Danielle, Michael and I through the process of filing for state and federal disability and Medi-Cal. Danielle received all the government benefits she was entitled to thanks to Jon. In fact, without his generous assistance, we wouldn't have known where to begin. Jon also helped Danielle to draft a will, which was an especially difficult task because by the time she took this step, she could no longer form complete sentences.
Thanks to Tova Steiner for setting the Danielle Drumke Medical Fund in motion. The donations, which exceeded $10,000, helped to pay for the costs of Danielle's medical treatments that were not be covered by her health insurance; travel expenses between San Francisco and Chicago; and her dream trip to New Zealand. Thanks also to Karen Dujovny and Frances Newbern at the American National Bank and Trust Company of Chicago for their help in administering the Danielle Drumke Medical Fund.
Thank you to Danielle's surgeon, Dr Mitchell Berger, her oncologist, Dr. Susan Chang, and their staffs at UCSF for their care and their candid responses to our questions.
Thanks to Cindy Pugh and Bryan Bowman for their unbelievable dedication. After Danielle's first surgery, Cindy changed her schedule at work so that she could drive Danielle to her weekly radiation treatments at UCSF. She and Bryan continued to visit with Danielle, almost weekly, until Danielle passed away. Thank you, Cindy, for the organic meals you cooked, for spending nights looking after Danielle at the hospice, and for painstakingly finding the perfect home for each of Danielle's things after she died. Thank you Bryan for visiting with Danielle during your free weekdays, for lending her your drum kit and for writing a song for her. Thank you both for helping Joey and I move Danielle's things out of storage, and for all of your help with her memorial service.
Thanks to Alan Walden, a chiropractor who gave Danielle free adjustments for several months following her first surgery.
Thanks to the Chicago Women's Rugby Association for quickly putting together a Chicago fundraiser for Danielle on December 1, 2000, only two months after her first surgery. More than 150 people showed up, and the donations exceeded $2,000.
Thanks to Rachel Walchak for hosting a brunch for Danielle's friends when Danielle and Michael went to Portland for a visit after Danielle's first surgery, for visiting Danielle in San Francisco and for coming back for the memorial service.
Thanks to Harriet Zeiner, Danielle's neuropsychologist, for helping Danielle to find the courage and resolve she needed to face her disease on her terms, for teaching her ways to spend her remaining time truly living, and for teaching Danielle and me ways to communicate with one another. Harriet urged Danielle to play soccer, to play the drums, to go to concerts, and to see the jellyfish at the Monterey Aquarium, all of which Danielle did and absolutely loved.
Thanks to The Amazon Mollies, Dori, Antoin and Stephanie, for asking Danielle to join their band shortly after her first surgery. Playing the drums again helped Danielle to maintain her coordination, and she had a blast playing shows with these women. Thanks especially to Dori, whom Danielle and I met in Walgreens the afternoon before Danielle's first surgery. We were all in line at the prescription counter--Dori getting drugs for a wisdom tooth extraction, Danielle for brain surgery. Dori told us that, in addition to being a musician, she was a massage therapist, and she immediately set up an appointment that evening for Danielle. When Danielle could no longer play with the band, Dori came to visit often, and even brought her massage table the hospice and worked on us both.
Thanks to Amy Gardner, who bought a new refrigerator for Danielle's Dolores Street apartment.
Thanks to the cousin of a friend of Danielle's, who bought Danielle an incredibly nice television with a VCR. I don't know who you are, but I want you to know that Danielle watched ER almost daily, and saw many of her favorite movies on days when she was stuck in bed. The television now lives at Zen Hospice, where other residents can benefit from it.
Thanks to the entire Brown Sugar soccer team for welcoming Danielle into their ranks for the season. Playing soccer helped Danielle maintain her strength and coordination, and she made so many new friends. And thanks to the team's manager, Gayle Proctor, for driving Danielle to and from practices, for taking her in for several days after her second surgery, and for bringing the entire team over for a post-game visit in March, when Danielle wasn't well enough to leave the house. Thanks also to Danielle's teammate Donelle Gregory, who lent me her car for a week in December--even though she'd met me only once--so I could take Danielle to her numerous presurgery appointments at UCSF.
Thanks to Elizabeth Tisdahl for opening her home in Lake Geneva to Danielle and her friends for a weekend last June. Danielle always loved being at that house, and was able to visit it one last time and share the experience with some of her close friends in the Chicago area. Elizabeth, thank you also for taking good care of me and Joey, and for visiting Danielle numerous times over the course of her illness.
Thanks to 5-year-old Cole Freedman for the pictures and special gifts he sent to Danielle, including the best pieces of his Halloween and Valentine candy.
Thank you to Deb Horberg, whose husband died in 2001 from the same tumor, for the support and comfort she gave to my mother.
Thanks to Kathy Tisdahl for helping me to put together a benefit for Danielle in November. The evening was a huge success, and Danielle entertained the masses doing her one-woman karaoke act all night long. Thanks to Hecky Powell, who generously donated food for 75 people along with the use of his nightclub. The delicious barbecue went so fast that I didn't get one bite of it. Thanks to Trina Hamlin, who contributed her beautiful music to the event. Trina and I had done a two-week tour together a year before, and although we hadn't seen each another since, she quickly offered to fly from New York to Chicago just to perform at the benefit. Thanks also to all the merchants and friends who donated goods for the auction and raffle.
Thanks to Julie Colwell, Danielle's high school golf coach, who got back in touch after many years and went out of her way to see Danielle when she was in San Francisco. Julie took her for a ride along the coast in a convertible, which was especially wonderful because Danielle wasn't allowed to drive a car at that point. Also, thank you, Julie, for the pictures you found and gave us of Danielle in high school. We will treasure them.
Thanks to Scott and Sally Pofcher, perfect strangers who turned over their San Francisco home to my father, free of charge, for two and a half weeks in December so that he could spend Christmas with Danielle.
Thanks to J.T. Farley, a college friend of Joey's, who sent me six discount airline coupons. These coupons allowed my brother David and Danielle's friend Tasha to take trips to see Danielle in her last months.
Thanks to our aunt, Phyllis Berlin, for giving us frequent flyer miles enough for Danielle to travel to New Zealand--business class--in January 2002, for me to fly to San Francisco in December, for David, Kara and Dylan to come out in May, and for David to return for Danielle's memorial service in June. I don't know what we would have done without this assistance.
Thanks to Amanda Barnhart and Chris Campbell who got up at 4 a.m. to stay with Danielle in December, thus covering the hours between Michael and Jody's departure and my mother's arrival in San Francisco.
Thanks to Danielle's college friends Beth Ambrose and Tasha Medelman for flying to San Francisco on very short notice to take care of Danielle upon her return from New Zealand. Danielle needed around-the-clock supervision at that point, and I was unable to get to San Francisco until a week after her return. Thank you both for the books and flowers and support you gave her.
Thanks to Danielle's oldest friend, Doug Tisdahl, who came to visit many times and took over caring for Danielle for five days in February as well. Doug took Danielle to see her oncologist, asked all the important questions and got all the answers Danielle needed to decide whether or not to continue doing chemotherapy. He also took her out to see her friends and treated her to a decadent and restful night at the Fairmont Hotel, complete with room service.
Thanks to my friend Mary McKinley for giving me her frequent flyer miles so I could get to San Francisco in February, and for booking my flight when I was too paralyzed to do it myself.
Thanks to my coworkers at Martha Stewart, who sent me off with 600 hours worth of phone cards to use in San Francisco. 600 hours seemed like a lot, but I went through every card.
Thanks to Joey's employers Michael Sprague and Mark Duvivier of Wavexpress. Although it was very impractical, Michael and Mark allowed Joey to work remotely for more than two months so that he could be at my side and help to care for Danielle. Michael and Mark, I will be forever in your debt. Thanks also to Len Veil at Wave Systems in Cupertino for lending Joey a digital projector so that Danielle could enjoy a private screening of the new Star Wars movie.
Thanks to Tony Cross for lending Joey and me his car practically every day for four months, for always filling up the tank, for checking in regularly, and for offering us the use of his apartment for more than a month while he was away. Also, thank you, Tony, for performing at Danielle's memorial service and for helping to collect and set up the sound equipment.
Thanks to my old friend Karen Bornarth, for always listening and helping me to make good decisions, for taking care of our apartment in New York for five months while Joey and I were in San Francisco, and for flying to Chicago to be with me for Danielle's memorial service.
Thanks to Erin Bried and Laura Dubrule for taking care of our apartment for three weeks, while Karen was away.
Thanks to my brother- and sister-in-law Kevin and Fiona Fortuna for storing our car for months in their driveway, and for flying out to be at Danielle's Chicago service. And thanks to Mary Fortuna and Chris Kuser and Terry Fortuna for coming to be with us in San Francisco. And thanks to Joe Fortuna for coming to Chicago.
Thanks to Amy Todd and Melissa Goldberg who invited Danielle and I to a party at their house and sent Danielle home with a gallon-size bag of strawberries afterward (she had had six seizures that day and, apparently, was quite hungry for strawberries when she recovered). Amy and Melissa asked the friends they invited to their engagement party to make donations in Danielle's name to Zen Hospice in lieu of bringing engagement gifts. They also offered to take Danielle and I for a ride in their 1966 red Mustang convertible and assembled the most impressive sundae bar I have ever seen for Danielle's memorial service.
Thanks to the barber at Supercuts in Noe Valley, who met Danielle when she had a massive horeshoe scar stamped on the left side of her skull and couldn't speak clearly. This man was patient and seemed unfazed. He remembered Danielle's name every time she came in and always cut her hair exactly as she liked it. When she lost the ability to communicate altogether, he assured her everything was okay and that he knew exactly what to do.
Thanks to Maggie Bergin, Jessica Klaitman, Libby Lewis and Grace Han, all friends from Smith, who came from Portland, Northampton and New York to spend a weekend with Danielle in February. And thanks to Susie Levitsky for joining them in San Francisco. Maggie, thank you for finding a way to send Danielle four quarts of flash-frozen ice cream from Northampton, for bringing us coffee and sandwiches, and for bringing levity to our lives during the days you were with us. Thank you, Grace, Susie, Jessica, Libby and Maggie for bringing brunch to Danielle's house and for giving me a gift certificate for Kabuki Springs. After that first visit, Joey and I spent a few hours almost every Tuesday night at the baths. Thank you, Susie and Libby, for the pictures you took of that weekend. Libby, thank you for sending those pictures, one by one, to Danielle as postcards. And thank you, Jessica, Libby and Grace for making a second trip to San Francisco for Danielle's memorial service, only four months after your visit. Your presence was an unexpected gift.
Thanks to Sara Cambridge and Howard Ryan, who met Danielle through Claire (Danielle's girlfriend and Sara's cousin). Sara called often to check in on us and introduced us to Fort Funston, which quickly became Danielle's favorite place to go in San Francisco. Thank you, Sara, for that perfect afternoon, for spending an entire day moving Danielle out of her apartment, and for making her a bright and beautiful mobile and hanging it in her room at the hospice. And thank you both for bringing us the most delicious fresh scones and pizzas from Howard's bakery and for contributing huge quantities of both for Danielle's memorial service.
Thanks to Krista Wathne for coming to San Francisco when Danielle asked for you, and for coming to Chicago, when she asked for you again, to speak at her memorial service. Thank you also for your letters and the flowers you sent to Joey and me in New York to welcome us home in July.
Thanks to Mary Koopman, the house manager for Zen Hospice, for making Danielle feel at home the moment we stepped through the front door to check the place out, for calling us frequently to check in before Danielle decided to make the move, and for always putting vast amounts of work aside whenever I sought her company. Mary, thank you for guiding me through with such patience and kindness. Joey and I miss sitting with you on the back stairs.
Thanks to Jon Liss and Tami Bartell, who showed up in February with a box of smiley face cookies from Evanston. Almost as soon as they arrived, they were packing boxes, helping to get Danielle moved out of her apartment. Thank you both for bringing us sandwiches and coffee, for moving Danielle into the hospice, helping her arrange her room (no small feat, considering that Danielle was extremely picky about where she wanted things and wasn't able to communicate those wishes), and for staying with her for the entire first week she was there. Your presence made that very difficult move less frightening for her, and your company kept her focused on living.
Thanks to Pippa Shulman, who arrived shortly after Jon and Tami, and got busy lifting boxes. Thank you, Pippa, for flying from Massachussetts to San Francisco after Danielle's first surgery, for accompanying Danielle to a chemo appointment on a second visit, for visiting a third time, when she moved to Zen Hospice, and yet again, for her memorial service. Thank you also for all the pictures you sent to me over the past two years for this website.
Thanks to Brad Byrum, the executive director of Zen Hospice, for his hospitality toward Danielle and her vast extended family. On the afternoon Danielle arrived with a huge group of friends, Brad appeared at the door with a tray of sodas and cookies for everyone.
Thanks to Kat Fotovat, Danielle's friend from Americorps, who traveled all the way from Moldova in March to spend a week with Danielle. Kat cared for Danielle with such tenderness and confidence that the volunteers at the hospice thought she'd been with Danielle from the beginning. Kat brought Krispy Kreme doughnuts, Russian dolls and love that was infectious. She helped Danielle to walk up and down the stairs, prepared food for her, helped her to shower and dress, and even filed her nails.
Thanks to Mimi Buckley, an amazing massage therapist, who volunteers at Zen Hospice. Mimi gave Danielle such incredible massages that Danielle would sleep for hours afterward. When she'd finally wake up, I would always ask how the massage was, and she'd look at me as if I were asking her what the weather in Spain was like that afternoon, shake her head and say, "I don't know." Thank you, Mimi, for fitting Danielle into your schedule every week and for fitting me in too when you could.
Thanks to the team of accupuncturists from the Chinese School of Medicine in San Francisco. These women gave Danielle weekly accupressure treatments on a volunteer basis, and helped her to let go during the last weeks.
Thanks to all the Zen Hospice volunteers who welcomed us all, cooked, did our laundry and our dishes, made tea, massaged Danielle's feet, sat with her, and helped to lift, bathe and clothe her when necessary.
Thanks to Ann Hartlaub, who came for a week in April to care for Danielle. Ann helped to move Danielle into a smaller room at Zen Hospice, and painstakingly hung all of her pictures for her. She slept on a recliner for a week and made breakfast for Danielle, helped her to shower and dress, and offered to run errands.
Thanks to Prudence Beidler for stopping by with flowers and homemade chocolate chip cookies for Danielle.
Thanks to Rudy Pakravan, Danielle's high school friend, for making the time to visit Danielle just before her wedding, and for spending lots of time with Danielle at her wedding shower. When, ultimately, Danielle wasn't well enough to attend the wedding, Rudy took time away from her guests, gathered all of Danielle's friends, and called to say hello.
Thanks to Kathy Wren, another friend from high school, who came to visit Danielle at the hospice. Danielle had a grand mal seizure while she and Kathy were at Ben and Jerry's, and Danielle ended up at the ER. Although she was quite shaken, Kathy remained composed and went back with Danielle for the ice cream they never got. She then braved a baseball game with Danielle, knowing that Danielle could easily seize again. Thank you, Kathy, for sending beautiful sunflowers for Danielle to enjoy as well.
Thanks to Vicki Shin, who had a star named for Danielle.
Thanks to Dithy Morrison, Danielle's junior high school girls club leader, who came to visit three times, all the way from Wooster, Ohio. Dithy accompanied Danielle to the Halloween parade in the Castro, went with her to the Pride parade in June--and to a chemo appointment afterward--and came to say goodbye when Danielle was at Zen Hospice. Dithy, thank you for spending the night there in a very uncomfortable recliner, and for the air mattress and pump that you bought and left for me to find. Thank you, also, for the letters you wrote to Danielle and to me, for showing up to Danielle's Chicago service in a Mickey Mouse T-shirt, which she would have loved, and for eating a meal with me afterward.
Thanks to our old next-door neighbor Mitzi Walchak, who visited us in San Francisco twice during Danielle's last two months--once on Mitzi's birthday, and once en route to her nephew's wedding--to see Danielle and to support my mom.
Thanks to Joey's aunt and uncle Rita and Harry Sweeney for bringing Danielle a spectacular orchid plant and for taking Joey and me out for dinner twice when they came to town for work. We felt so taken care of, and your company was wonderful.
Thanks to the nurses at the Cradle, where my mom works for sending cards to Danielle throughout her illness, for calling my mom while she was in San Francisco, and for sending cookies. And thanks to the management for supporting my mom throughout.
Thanks to Peter Barrett for FedExing me a container filled with his delicious braised artichokes all the way from New York. What a class act!
Thanks to Didem Nisanci and Kirsten Campbell, who were both married last year, for inviting Danielle to two glorious weddings where she danced her butt off and for sending pictures for the website. Thank you also for visiting her at the hospice in June. Whatever these two women brought with them on videotape had Danielle laughing so loud that the night attendant took notice.
Thank also to everyone who flew to San Francisco in the mad flurry of Danielle's last months to say goodbye to her, including Karen Hawkins, Josie Carbone, Sarah Elliot, Sarah DuCray, Satya Rhodes-Conway, Dee Dee Mendoza and Chris Parker, Jen Anderson and Mika, Searah Deysech, E. Maxwell Davis and Kim, Suzanne Klonis, Stephanie Jacobsen, Dana Mergendahl, Ellen Szedon, Katie Gillespie, Rassamee Bryan, Jane Morris and Mark Tisdahl. There are probably more of you that I am forgetting.
Thanks to Tess Resman for sending postcards almost daily in Danielle's last months.
Thanks to Hannah Jensen and the staff of Hospice by the Bay--Mary Schembrai, Martha Black, Wanda Williams, Tyrone Roden, Inelle Manuel and Liz Black--for their tender care of Danielle. Thanks especially to Fanny Ypola, who is the most sensitive, intuitive and generous heath-care provider I have ever met. Fanny would walk into Danielle's room and call out, "Good morning. How is my sport doing today?," which always made Danielle smile. Fanny was even able to convince Danielle to take oxygen when Danielle needed it but was too stubborn to wear the tube. Fanny, thank you for staying with us while Danielle died and for easing the hours for her--and for us. You are an absolute angel on this planet.
Thanks to Rabbi Eric Weiss of the Jewish Healing Center. Rabbi Weiss met with Danielle once a week in her last months to discuss spirituality and death. He helped her to form an idea of the afterlife, and later, officiated her funeral. Thank you for helping Danielle find some peace in her last days.
Thanks to Nate Lewis, another resident at Zen Hospice, who brightened our days with his broad smile and his stories. Nate kept Joey and I laughing for hours and was so sweet to Danielle it broke our hearts. This guy is so cool, he even has a day named for him: August 13th is Nate Lewis Day, so wherever you are, raise a glass to him. Nate, thank you for inviting all of us in.
Thanks to Karuna Jaggar for giving Danielle so many great haircuts, for writing from Tanzania, where she was living for a year, and for cutting her time there short so that she could share Danielle's last months with her. Karuna, thank you also for telling Danielle stories about friends when none of us thought to just give her some plain old gossip, for staying at the hospice with her, for feeding her miso soup, and for making her memorial service so bold and spectacular. All the paper lanterns, flowers, lit-up stars and candles made up a defiant brightness on that sad occasion.
Thanks to Aimee Gross for sticking by Danielle throughout, for coming to the hospice almost daily toward the end, and for bringing Danielle special magazines, which everyone kept finding. Aimee, thank you for your friendship and your laughter, which I'd recognize anywhere, for singing for me and Joey at the hospice and for Danielle at her memorial service and for DJing the celebration. Danielle would definitely have given you a huge thumbs-up. Thanks also to Aimee's girlfriend, Kendra Lubalin, who lugged her massage table up some steep stairs to give Danielle a free massage. And thanks, Kendra, for making us laugh and for participating so fully in the last days, which were truly a roller-coaster ride.
Thanks to my old friend Jonathan Slavin for coming up from Los Angeles twice in one month to check in on us. Thank you, Jonathan, for the daffodils, the cookies and the cherry pie you brought for Danielle. And thank you for driving up a third time, to help us get through the memorial service. Thanks also to Danica Suskin, who made the same trip for Danielle's memorial service, and shared with me her family's experience with illness and death. Danica, your particular wisdom was a guiding star in a dark night.
Thanks to Whole Foods for donating all the cheese and fruit platters, bottled water and ice cream for Danielle's San Francisco memorial service.
Thanks to Jenn Maer, Hillary Hartley, Anna Gregory, Rahela Abbas and Amy Gardner, fellow Smithies, who learned an a cappella version of "Landslide" in a day and accompanied Aimee Gross at Danielle's San Francisco memorial service.
Thanks to Kaara Kallen, Shelly Arnold, Dylan Jaggar, Alison Beck and Huong Nguyen, who also helped to set up for and clean up after Danielle's San Francisco memorial service in San Francisco. Kaara, thank you for checking in on Danielle so often and for all of your help in caring for her. Shelly, thank you for bringing her a bright ginger flower. It lived for weeks.
Thanks to Madeleine Schulman for her generous contribution, which established a strong foundation for the Danielle Anne Drumke 1995 Scholarship Fund at Smith College, and to Cam Morin Kelly, Director of Planned Gifts and Bequests at Smith College for all of her help in establishing the scholarship fund. Maddie, thank you also for the photo collage you made and sent to Danielle. Those pictures, hung over her bed, were constant visual evidence of just how young, strong and vibrant Danielle was even as she was becoming less strong. The contrast was amazing, and it was good to have.
Thank you to Rabbi Sam Gordon, Naomi Bayer, Ron Perillo, Jackie Allen and the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation for their help with the beautiful memorial service in Evanston.
Thanks to my mom's dear friends Barbara Schoenecker and Diana Weinberger for their solid support of my mother throughout, for sending cards and gifts to Danielle, and for providing dinner for all of the guests on the first and second nights of shiva in Chicago.
Thanks to Valene Staggs, Kara's Mom, for providing dinner for all of the guests on the third night of shiva.
Thanks to Marian and Aidan Fontana, for welcoming Joey and I home from Chicago. Marian arrived at the airport with a bouquet of giant sunflowers and many hugs. Thank you, Aidan, for running into our apartment and immediately jumping on the bed. It was a good, soft landing for all of us.
And, of course, thank you to everyone who contributed to the Danielle Drumke Medical Fund, the Zen Hospice Project, and the Danielle Anne Drumke 1995 Scholarship Fund at Smith College (see contributors for a complete list of names and to check the status of the fund). Your donations to the medical fund helped to make Danielle's last days more about living than dying. The donations made to the Zen Hospice Project will help others in circumstances similar to Danielle's to get the care they need and the dignity they deserve. And your donations to the Danielle Anne Drumke 1995 Scholarship Fund at Smith College will insure that Danielle's name will continue to be spoken along the corridors and paths of that campus for years to come. Which, as we all know, is exactly as it should be.
|home * guest book * contribute * updates * in her own words * in memory * album * medical links|