Nine days ago, on November 10, 2013, I lost one of the most important and influential women in my life. My auntie Lisa lost her 15 month battle with acute myeloid leukemia (AML,) which is a type of blood cancer. She was 52. Only a month and a half earlier, we lost my grandfather suddenly as well. Needless to say, the past few months, coupled with the lengthy fight to save my aunt’s life, have been trying times for my family. During the time when my aunt was going through treatment, I started this blog–it will be a year old soon. In a way, this site has helped me cope with news from back home about my aunt’s illness; I also wanted to bring her joy through our common love of writing and movies. She would always be watching an old movie when I visited. We would watch Bette Davis be captivating in Now, Voyager, or quote The Godfather Trilogy verbatim. My aunt was a strong force of nature who always made her presence known, spoke her mind, and fought for what she wanted out of life. She had an infectious laugh and the Boston accent to match. I have always thought of her as a kindred spirit. She taught me to love the ocean, animals, and angels. But most importantly, she taught me to love and accept myself for who I am. She helped me recognize a certain strength inside me that I didn’t know I had, and didn’t see in myself until recently. Last night, I decided to sign up to volunteer for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, as well as Team in Training which helps people organize and train for events that raise awareness for blood cancers like AML. I am on a mission to do anything I can to help prolong the lives of those who are suffering, and eradicate cancer by raising awareness and continuing to fight in the name of my aunt.
In Loving Memory of Lisa A. Cushing (December 12, 1960-November 10, 2013)