The year was 1975.
In February of that year, at least that’s my recollection, I was privileged to be the date of a very pretty 18-year old young woman named Karen when we went to her Notre Dame High School’s annual ‘Wine and White’ formal dance in Toronto, Ontario.
Four months later, I had the honour of escorting Karen to her graduation prom.
In April of 1976, on Easter Sunday, she said ‘yes’ when I asked her to marry me and in June 1977, we became husband and wife.
Today, January 23rd is Karen’s birthday. She would have turned 59-years old but for the cruelty of life that took her from us when she was only 45 years of age. Yes, cancer sucks and it affects the whole family in devastating ways.
Happy Birthday, Karen! I know that you know you are loved and remembered.
Karen Ann Benedetto, 1975
Around this time in each of the past two years, I have proudly bragged about my daughters and their fundraising through the 60 km (about 37 mile) Walk to End Women’s Cancers, previously the Walk to End Breast Cancer, in support of research at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital. All walkers in this fundraiser must raise a minimum of $2,000, no small task in tough economic times, to participate in the two-day event in addition to being able to find the stamina to endure the long walk.
In my post last year I concluded by indicating that we hoped to expand the team through the inclusion of my son and I. As last year’s post indicates, fighting this terrible disease is important to us as it took the life of my kid’s mom and has touched the lives of far too many friends and relatives. This year the team did expand as my son joined his sisters and trekked through the city on two above seasonal warm, sunny days. I had to abandon my commitment to participate due to my ‘fling’ with Guillain-Barre Syndrome last fall and my need for more recovery time but next year, who knows?
The 2011 walk had more than 4000 participants who raised more than $9.4 million. The Hadden team, named after Karen’s Wings, raised more than $6,400 on the strength of John, Lisa and Jenna’s fundraising that included everything from a charity soccer game to bake sales. In the end, the three ‘warriors’ raised their hands triumphantly as they crossed the finish line hand in hand (pictured above). A great job done very well!