Building a Stronger Community

Hearts and Friends

Hearts and friends

(Neil Crone's blog, May 2006)
I had a wonderful time the other night. Suzanne and I got dressed up and headed out to
the Deer Creek Golf and Country club. Very hoity-toity. I was hosting a Gala Fundraiser
for Hearth Place Cancer Support Centre being presented by a wonderful group of women
who call themselves the Hearts of Durham. These ladies are the bees knees. (note to
self...try not to use both hoity-toity and bees knees in the same piece...makes me sound
like Dashell Hammett or somebody out of the thing you know I'll be saying
'dames'). They are beautiful bundles of energy and spirit who's hearts are exactly in the
right place. Great bunch of dames. (dammit...see?)
The night was a tremendous success. They raised over $23,000.00 An incredible feat for
a first time venture. Being a part of that makes me feel wonderful. That's why we're
here. But, as wonderful as that part of the evening was, I think, for me, and probably my
wife, the best part of the night came just as we were walking out the front door. We
bumped into Andrew and Marilyn. I'd noticed Andrew earlier on in the night. Saw him
and Marilyn on the dance floor, laughing and having fun. I'd seen the scars on his newlyshaved
head. Now he was wearing a woolen toque as the four of us talked on this
suddenly chilly spring night.
Andrew has brain cancer. Marilyn is his wife. The four of us hit it off immediately. We
speak the same language. We chatted and laughed about kids, cancer and life. Andrew
had us in tears with his stories about using the fact that a fist-sized portion of his brain
has been removed, as an excuse for forgetting to do housework. We talked about the
weird, sometimes terrifying journey we were all on and we saw, in each others eyes, the
unspoken fear of an uncertain future. And we connected as only cancered people can. It
was cold, as I say, and we were dressed for a dance floor, not a blizzard, so we had to get
moving. But we exchanged email addresses and wishes to stay in touch. I'd like that. I
think God drops us care packages occasionally in the form of new friends. I think
Andrew and Marilyn may be just that.