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Archived Story

Remembering Geri Murtaugh 1 year later

Published 8:36am Thursday, August 4, 2011

Column: Thanks for Listening

“I will miss my friend. I will miss her monkey bread, her smile, and her corny play on words. I will miss her love of animals, her love of her children and, of course, her love of family.”

I wrote these lines a year ago. Funny, how a year later and those words still ring true.

Geri Murtaugh at a Relay for Life. She used her maiden name of McShane for her bylines in the Tribune.

Sunday, Aug. 7, is the first anniversary of Geri Murtaugh’s passing from cancer.

I also wrote: “I hate cancer. You know that news that is like a punch in the stomach? The kind of news that just makes you buckle. I want to shout, cry and yell all at the same time, but how selfish would that be of me when what my friend Geri needs is my thoughts and prayers for strength and resilience.”

Please still say a prayer for Geri today. Please say one for her family who miss her so much and for all the good that this wonderful and blessed person did during her lifetime. Pray to have even one ounce of the strength that Geri showed us all as she went about her business of life while dealing with chemotherapy, work and family. Geri was an inspiration as she would tease about picking out a new cap while she was losing her hair from chemotherapy or the fact that when her hair came back it was on the grayish side. Her humor and her spirit gave all of her friends a reason to admire Geri because she was standing brave in the face of this terrible disease. Geri showed leadership in a time of turmoil. Geri was amazing.

I miss my friend. And yes, I still hate cancer.

Relay for Life is coming

The Relay for Life is an annual event that raises money and awareness of cancer through different fundraisers that culminate in one amazing night. You will see lighted luminaries — small lunch bags that are white, turned upside down, filled with sand, with a small candle inside — that people decorate with everything from photos and memories of people who have succumbed to cancer or are celebrated for beating cancer or presently are fighting cancer. You will walk with survivors of cancer through these luminaries and have that be as an inspiration for yourself.

You will both share and hear heroic stories about fighting cancer and overcoming great odds. You will walk silently with your own thoughts about how cancer has affected your loved ones. This night is all about sharing and overcoming obstacles. It is about climbing the mountain, knocking down the wall and persistence personified.

Finally, this night is about you and how cancer has touched your heart in either watching a loved one struggle with it or in the loss of a family member or loved one who has succumbed to it. It is a time to fight, cry, think and share all at the same time. It is Freeborn County’s Relay for Life.

Come join me!

Important Relay for Life dates:

The event is Friday, Aug. 12, 2011.

Bank night is Monday from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Please help out. Relay for Life is again asking for help with setting up luminaries on Relay morning. With the larger track this year, we will need lots of help. We will be starting at about 9 a.m. Stop out!

Tribune Publisher Scott Schmeltzer’s column appears every Thursday.