Monday, August 25, 2008

Clarence Alumni - The Tami Barillari Blemel Memorial Walk / Pregnant With Cancer

Pregnancy is supposed to be a joyous time, focused on bringing a new life into the world. Then, for some, comes the dreaded word "cancer". It now becomes a race with time, hoping treatment can be put off successfully until after birth. Aggressive options must be delayed in order to assure the health of the unborn child.

There are many survivors, but sometimes the delay proves to be too long. Clarence alumna ('66) Karen Milgate passed away, while her family stepped in to help her husband in his new role as a single parent.

Clarence alumna ('85) Tami Barillari Blemel received the diagnosis of breast cancer in her 1st trimester. From the Breast Cancer Canal Walk (Lockport) web page:
"At the time of her diagnosis of breast cancer, Tami was 31 years old. She and her husband Michael were expecting their third child and she was just beginning her second trimester. She noticed a subtle pain in her breast, then a lump the next day. Her doctors made the diagnosis quickly and she required two surgeries. Difficult choices followed. She chose not to sacrifice her child which amounted to accepting more risks from what was known to be an aggressive cancer. She opted to have a course of chemotherapy during the second trimester. Her obstetricians delivered her third son, Andrew Bennett, four weeks early so that she would not delay her radiation treatment any further...

Her three-and-a-half year battle with cancer that followed coincided with the most magical times in a young couple’s life - a new baby, many milestones for three young children and a new home. During that time she somehow managed to be joyful. She told me many times how cancer gives you the gift of perfect perspective. The rest of us lack that vision most days. We burden ourselves with the unimportant stuff. She appreciated the sheer miracle and uniqueness of each of her children. She never took for granted her husband’s love and tireless devotion. She weathered many painful treatments with bravery and optimism."
On Saturday, September 13th the 7th Annual Tami Barillari Blemel Memorial Walk will take place in Clarence NY. You can join the walk, or donations can be made to the Pregnant with Cancer Network, in care of board member Clarence alumna ('85) Janet Hammond Vesper (9750 Greiner Road, Clarence NY 14031).

The Pregnant with Cancer Network is an organization dedicated to providing women diagnosed with cancer while pregnant with information, support, and hope.

Participate or donate because you knew Tami. Donate because the diagnosis of pregnant with cancer has touched you, family, or friends. Donate if you've been blessed that it hasn't.

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