Donna was a very good friend to many Zebras. She was a wife to Dave- a Mom to Jenna and Anthony. And her companion and buddy, Guido. Loved by family and friends. A warrior who was always there for others. A good heart, a loving way. Optimistic even in the face of adversity. Let us count the ways we want to remember our friend, Donna.
I was amazed at how she fought Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Always full of smiles. Posting words with positive outlook. I was never sure if she was trying to convince herself – or to help us to keep on going.
And then there were recipes – always recipes. Who feels like cooking when going through this? I talked to her on the phone and only sensed a bit of sadness. Lately we were trying to hold each other up as we were both enduring something new and kinda scary.
When Donna was down- it was either custard or Guido. Finding comfort in both.
A fellow Zebra, Mary Allen Johnston, became friends with Donna when they both realized that they were going through PIDD, NHL and Heart Failure at the same time. “ Donna was such an inspiration to me, because she knew exactly what I was going though”! Donna explained that the secret to rehab was an exercise program. She made me feel like this was just a “bump in the road. She was going to recover from this and I could beat this”. Mary said that what she learned from Donna was to “ never stop living, never stop loving- keep moving forward.”
About the time that Donna was fighting lymphoma- there were actually 3 of us also fighting cancer. We formed a bond and shared stories. Carol Kay Keagle was fighting lung cancer at this time. She talks about what she loved so much about Donna. “ Her smile made me feel better each time I saw it” They loved the fact that they had both grown up in Michigan. “ Donna helped me find information about symptoms and meds”. She refers to Donna as a ‘ZEBRA QUEEN’. She helped her to continue to fight. Carol is really going to miss her.
Memories. Donna always helped make lovely memories. Rachel Gilmour reflects on Donna – the first word that enters her mind is FAMILY. “ Her identity was NOT her disease – but, a mom and wife. Everything she fought through was so she could be there for her kids. She was stubborn and never asked for help. Donna always had a smile, and she found humor no matter how tough things were. There was a fierceness inside her that she drew from as a Mom. I know there is a part of her in those kids that they will always be able to draw from to get through life.”
Donna and Rachel 2 years ago
Dave, Jenna and Anthony- I hope you find some comfort knowing how 4 Zebras and the rest of the herd feel about Donna. She meant so much to us. Please find some PEACE in our words. Please see the LOVE. Please feel our HUGS.
We wish you a loving memorial for our friend.
Request for Donations to the IDF ( Immune Deficiency Foundation)
Thank you you for allowing me to write about the love for our friend