Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Week Ago Today - Danette Velez

Early in the morning last Thursday, my friend Danette passed away. You may remember her from previous posts if you've read my blog for some time. If not, you can read my first post about her, when I completed a celebratory "I'm cancer free!" portrait. Her cancer returned, and I completed this second painting, and this post has a wonderful image of her portable shrine and an article about her courage and optimism.

Once again, I am without words that can describe how I feel (except maybe denial!), honor her memory, or truly give a hint as to the impact this woman had on so many people. Literally, I have been out in public with her portrait and had numerous people recognize her image and stop to talk about what a 'bright spirit' she is. Children would recognize her face and smile at the sunny image of Miss Danette. People who never even met her would be touched by the image of this happy, optimistic woman who was in the midst of battling cancer. Over at this CaringBridge webpage, that her family set up for her, some 13,000 people have visited, and hundreds have signed the guestbook and shared memories and loving thoughts. You can also read some entries from her journal, which family members have been posting here and there, and just get a glimpse into the kind of woman she was.

Friday at 3pm there will be a 'Celebration of Life' memorial service for her at Unity Church of Overland Park. Danette leaves behind a husband who carries the same 'bright spirit,' and 5 beautiful children who reflect the souls their parents, as well an extended family. A trust fund has been set up for the family; please consider giving if you are moved to do so:

Danette Velez Fund

First National Bank of Olathe

PO Box 1500

Olathe, KS 66051-9901

This woman was simply amazing, and I am so gifted for having known her. Thank you, Danette, for your friendship.

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