Remembering Dawn

January 17, 2009

It is sad to say, but some form of cancer has touched nearly everyone.  My mother battled breast cancer last year.  I lost a grandfather and an uncle to different forms of cancer.  My first brush with cancer came in the form of a girl close to my age named Dawn Rochelle.

I was ten when I first met Dawn Rochelle.  She was thirteen and had just made the cheerleading squad.   She did not feel well; however, which put a damper on her enthusiasm.  She had more bruises than cheerleading practice could explain and flu symptoms she could not shake.  She went to the doctor and received a shocking diagnosis – cancer.  Leukemia, to be specific.

In the hospital, she shared a room with another girl with leukemia, Sandy.  The two shared their hopes as well as their sickness.  They achieved remission about the same time and celebrated that.  The next summer, they went to a camp for kids who were living with cancer.  They met cute boys and felt alive.  Shortly after camp ended, Sandy relapsed.  Sadly, she did not win her fight the second time.

For those of you familiar with children’s and teen literature, you might recognize the name Dawn Rochelle from a novel titled Six Months to Live by Lurlene McDaniel.  I LOVED this book. I probably read it twenty times.  At least.

Those of you familiar with children’s and teen literature will realize that I just revealed something mildly embarrassing about myself.  You see, everything McDaniel writes is overly tragic and dramatic.  To illustrate, the books that continue the saga of Dawn Rochelle have titles like I Want to Live and No Time to Cry.  But, there is an undeniable niche market for girls (it’s almost always girls) craving drama and tragedy.  Books let them experience it without having to actually live it.

So, why am I writing this?  I’m not sure, but I can say that the book stuck with me, even until now, nearly twenty-five years later.  That plot summary above?  I wrote it from memory.  I’m certain that the memory stirred when I heard the ad plays at least a small role in why I decided to make the call and sign up for the information session.

Oh, and in case you are interested, my actual training starts on January 31st.  Maybe I’ll post my workouts and you can train along with me, wherever you are.

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2 Responses to “Remembering Dawn”

  1. Sean Says:

    I totally remember that book! At first I thought, ‘I don’t remember her having a friend in high school with cancer. I would have remembered that. I remember this book where…’ and the you told us the rest. Well played.

  2. Mom Says:

    Hi Honey,
    Dad sent me your blog and I am with Sean. I am reading this thinking why do I not remember this! I really must be losing it! I love your writing. You should really write a book some day!
    I do will donate $50 like POPPA. If it ok with you I would like to send your blog to Carrie who used to work for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. She is also a marathon runner who might have some suggestions for you.
    I am very proud of you as usual. Love ya


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