Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Turning the page

Today marked the end of an era for me.

As Monica Geller explained, "an era is defined as a significant period of time. Maybe it wasn't significant to you, but it was to me!!!".

I attended my last board meeting tonight as a board of trustee member for the Rocky Mountain chapter.

I have been on the board since October 2002. I have to step down from the board(MRO, mandatory roll off) per the by-laws of the society.

I have mixed feelings about this.

In some ways I am looking forward to turning the page and seeing what happens next.

The last two years have been very difficult, marked with the loss of team hero, Gary Taylor, board members, Don Austin, Patty Kaufman and of course the biggest loss of all to me was marked by Kelly's passing 15 months ago today.

Patty was the first person to reach out to me at the first board meeting after Kelly died and shockingly she was gone 3 months later.

I have made some great friends, people that have had a huge impact on my life. I have become friends with people in other chapters that I have never met, Shayna, Jeffrey, Sarah, Kristin. People who are all unified in the efforts to find a cure for blood cancers.

I had the best cycling coach(Gary Thompson) ever during the 2003 season for the Lake Tahoe Century ride. Gary was kind enough to send Kelly a card for her birthday in 2001 when we thought we were about to lose her. That touched me greatly that he did that for her.

The staff for TNT, Light the Night, School and Youth, Man/Woman, Patient services are simply the best.

Many thanks to Anisa, Ashley, Mackenzie, Cathie, Cindy, Joni, Amanda, Tamara, Kelly, Andrea, Lynn, Lori, Katie, Georgia and a huge thanks to the executive director , Rebbecca who has helped turn our chapter into a powerhouse!

I will greatly miss working with each of you.

To the Mom's that I have so much respect and admiration for(Catherine, Krisztina, Desiree) Your commitment to your children and your families in this fight is truly inspiring.

I wasn't sure how I would feel about this final meeting tonight. I am the board secretary and I am responsible for taking the meeting minutes so in many ways it was business as usual.

Rick Peterson who has been the Board of Trustee president for our chapter the last two years, presented me with an exemplary service award. I was doing fine until he got to the last whereas in the presentation.

I got choked up as he read these final words as I think it captures the spirit of what mattered the most to me over the last 10+ years that I have been volunteering for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Whereas, Ross has been a champion for all patients and carried the banner highest, from the moment they met, and now in memory of one very special hero-Kelly Grubb.

This is what has called my heart.

15 months ago today, Kelly died after an almost 12 year battle with her Leukemia. I still miss her each and every day, but I no longer feel the sadness and the sorrow the way that I did. I was so afraid to let go of the sadness as I thought if I did that I would let go of the love I had for Kelly. Now when I see her picture I can smile and be grateful and joyful for the time I had with her. The sorrow is gone, the love is not. It was a hard lesson for me as most lessons are.

Tomorrow, I turn the page and start a new chapter. Not much will be different. The battle rages on. There will be other rides, more Light the Night walks, maybe another marathon.

It feels all too familiar.

I want a different ending...


  1. You've done wonderful things, Ross! The battle will rage on, but when I'm having a hard time dealing with new things I remember the quote "without change, there would be no butterflies".

  2. Heather,

    I really like that thought. Thanks for sharing that with me :)

  3. I'm thankful that I read this after Heather had commented... Because that is an amazing quote... And you might know that the butterfly has a special significance to me... :)

    I'm proud of you. Honored to know you.

    I love you.