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Ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in 1 of 72 women; 14,000 will die. Please know the symptoms and risk factors: read Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir. Books at www.amazon.com. ALL PROCEEDS GO TO GYNECOLOGIC CANCER RESEARCH. I am a member of Rave Reviews Book Club and Rave Writer's International Society of Authors, and Patient Leadership Council for Tesaro, Inc. I WILL NOT USE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS FOR ANY OTHER PURPOSE THAN CONTACTING YOU DIRECTLY. ALL ORIGINAL CONTENT COPYRIGHT 2011 THROUGH 2018.

Monday, April 11, 2016


      My thanks to Cindy Helgerson, who was willing to be interviewed for this blog. All too often we are unwilling to discuss the death of someone we love; or to talk about our own mortality. Why we are uncomfortable with this subject is a sad a testament of our society. I believe that through death we learn about living.

When your child dies, how do you cope? How do you keep going day in and day out? How many times do you ask, “Why”?  Is your faith strengthened or weakened?

     Cindy’s son unexpectedly died from fatty metamorphosis of the liver. Zack was only 27 years old with a long and productive life ahead of him. However, he found alcohol as his way to deal with his challenges.
     His mother states, “He was a young man not meant to navigate in this world.” He had dyslexia and reading was his greatest challenge. She continues, "The school system puts all the dyslexic kids in a box and teaches them with all the same methods." Zack’s mother is a retired special education teacher and she now sees her mission is to design teaching programs that can be individualized.

    Cindy states with full conviction, “God decided it was too painful for Zack to continue to live in this world. So, he was taken home to be with God.”

    Zack loved to cook, plan and be a part of any party or holiday. He had a keen sense of the artistic and applied it in several forms. “He was a designer.”

     “My greatest regret is that I was not with him when he died. That is the hardest thing I still struggle with today.” She wipes some tears.

     Zack was also a wonderful friend to his cousin, Taylor. Though they were almost 10 years apart in age, they always had a special connection. Their lives were intertwined, and even in their deaths. Taylor was killed in a head-on collision and was buried just 17 days after her cousin’s funeral.

    To lose two young and vibrant people in such a short period of time is a tragedy that few of us will experience. The strength of Zack and Taylor’s families is remarkable and inspirational. In memory of them the family has started a program called: Rainbows After The Storm. 
       Duane and Candis Fancher (aunt and uncle of Zach and Taylor) were a part of a 75 member medical mission team who spent ten days in Tacloban after a November 2013 typhoon struck and devastated the city.

     "On the evenings of both their memorial services, storms struck, and clearing skies produced 
       rainbows. Rainbows After The Storm seeks to honor their lives by providing hope, health, and 
       happiness to the people of the Philippines."

    They collect crutches, canes, wheelchairs, walkers, eyeglasses, body washes, and loofah sponges.

     The family is strengthened by their faith in God, themselves, and a sense of hope. “Every morning the first thing I do is give thanks for this day. I pray for God to fill me with inner peace," Cynthia says. "Since my son and niece’s deaths I am more attuned to other people and more readily reach out to them.”


  Her final message is for each of us:
                               Live each day.
                              Bring every day to the Lord.
                              Thank and trust God will help you.
                              Don’t dwell on deaths.
                              Carry on and try to do positive things.

               This song was played at Zac’s funeral. I invite you to please listen to it:

Beloved Israel "Iz" Ka'ano'i Kamakawiwo'Ole sings his renowned medley of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "What a Wonderful World." Israel was among the most celebrated of Hawaiian performers with a kind and gentle spirit that is evident in his touching voice. He tragically died in 1997 of a heart attack at an early age (38) and has been sorely missed by his many adoring fans.

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