My dear friend Laurie Harris has pancreatic cancer. Laurie and I hooked up when we were in the 6th grade and became boyfriend and girlfriend through the 7th grade. I was about 4 foot tall at the time and she was a foot taller than me……or so it seemed! I always tell her that I still remember dancing a slow dance with her at a 7th grade party resting my head on her chest! She always says “what chest.” Well, I guess it was the height difference and we moved on from boyfriend / girlfriend to forever friends.
About 2 years ago, 44 years after we graduated high school, Laurie contacted me about doing a high school reunion. I first said that I couldn’t be involved but then changed my mind. About 8 of our classmates met on Long Island at my sister Eileen’s house in July of 2011. It was a great meeting with lot’s of laughs and lot’s of tears. We did manage to get organized and started the task of locating classmates. A month later in August, I got the call. It was Laurie calling to tell me that she had pancreatic cancer. Needless to say, it stopped me cold.
Laurie has had quite a battle over the last 18 or so months. She worked so hard in locating classmates despite being so sick with chemo, hospital visits and just plain feeling lousy. She was an inspiration to all of our classmates and the reunion committee. Unfortunately, she was too sick to attend the reunion, but her husband Neal (a classmate who she hooked up with at our 20th reunion & married him) attended. There were lot’s of tears at the reunion.
Laurie is an inspiration to all of us. You never hear her complain despite the challenges she faces. Laurie knows that her battle against pancreatic cancer will not be easy, but if anyone is going to beat it, it will be my dear friend. I got to see Laurie last summer at a “mini reunion” and again a couple of weeks ago in New York. She looked wonderful (beautiful as always!) and you would never know that she is sick.
I know that Laurie is spending lot’s of time enjoying her family, especially her grand kids. Her new pooch, Paco is keeping a huge smile on her face and makes getting up everyday a little easier.
We all love you Laurie Harris. You are an inspiration to everyone who knows you. We all say a prayer for you everyday and I know that new friends who read this will do the same. Keep on being strong! I know you’re not going down without a fight.