On September 28, 2019, I will be bicycling 100 miles from Sandusky, OH to Fairport Harbor, OH in honor of my mother, Ann Zakelj, who died this past February of pancreatic cancer. Diagnosed last August with stage 4 cancer, she opted out of chemotherapy in favor of palliative treatment and eventual home hospice care. Hospice of the Western Reserve was such a steadfast source of support during the last months of Mom's illness. Nurses and aides came daily to monitor medications and symptoms but also felt like an extended part of our family because of their warmth, compassion, and dedication. I often think about how lucky my brother Chris, my dad, and I all were to be able to stay with Mom during her final weeks in the peace of our home with the support of a hospice team. I am riding to raise money so that Hospice of the Western Reserve can continue to offer its services to those in our community who do not have that luxury.
Mom was a paragon of generosity, faith, and love of life. She had a constant thirst for learning and made an impression upon everyone she met, from classmates to fellow travelers, coin collectors to literary scholars, baseball pitcher to rock musician, coworkers to fellow Cleveland Slovenians. Though we all miss her dearly, I know that her energy lives on through us, inspiring and challenging us to live our best lives. Thank you for donating in remembrance of her.
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