5 days left and counting…

June 20, 2011

The 5th Annual Climb4Life Colorado kicks off with a hang-time happy hour this Friday with climbing and hiking festivities on Saturday. Can you believe it? We can’t wait to hear the amazing stories about why each of you have decided to make a difference by joining the Climb4Life. In the meantime, here’s one special story that may serve as a reminder on why we do it.

Only a handful of hiking and climbing registration spots remain so sign up now!

In Memory of Emmie Nerney

“It always warms my heart to see so many people working with HERA to raise money and awareness for ovarian cancer. There are many of us whose lives have been affected by this horrible disease, and I want to take the time to thank all of you who support HERA.

In 1989, when I was only fourteen years old, my mother Emmie Nerney was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She had lately begun to experience stomach pains; just a few weeks later her doctors found an abnormal growth in her stomach region.  Only days afterward, she was on the operating table, and the prognosis was not good.  The doctors were virtually certain that she would not survive the operation.

But she would prove them wrong. Boy, would she ever do so.

My mother was a lifelong health nut and an avid jogger.  I learned from her doctors that she was one of the strongest and most fiercely-willed patients that they had ever encountered. Various doctors gave her a negative prognosis on numerous occasions, but she simply refused to give up. Throughout her battle with cancer, I heard her say “This is not going to change my life. I will deal with it.”  She was strong in body but even stronger in spirit.

My mother did her best to cast her sickness aside and go on living a good life.  She continued to volunteer at church and in the community, spending hours visiting our church’s shut-ins and elders at the local rest homes. Sick or well, she would cover up her bald head with a wig or a scarf and then venture out to visit with Arlene, a rather sharp-tongued old lady whose family had abandoned her in a nearby nursing home. It didn’t matter how bad my mother felt; if she was able to move about then she would visit Arlene several times per week.

In spite of the horrible side effects of the chemo, she refused to let cancer dampen her spirits. Always the jokester, she would crack that the chemotherapy drugs made her more metallic than Lars Ulrich from Metallica. She took to wearing a Metallica t-shirt to the doctor’s office, and whenever we were in the car and a Metallica song came on the radio, she would joke that we were on our way to an appointment for her to try out for the band.

Despite her strong will and determination, my mother ultimately succumbed to the disease. On November 4, 1998, my mother passed away at the age of fifty-one.  She fought off cancer for nine and a half years, a much longer time than any of her doctors ever predicted.  She was a great person and a wonderful inspiration, and she was taken from us much too soon.

I am very happy to see so many people supporting this wonderful cause. Raising funds is never easy, but rest assured that people like me, my father, and my siblings are deeply touched by the actions of HERA and all of its generous supporters.”

-Andrew Nerney


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