Breast Cancer: How One Woman is Raising Money as She Heals from the Loss

A little over a year ago I lost one of my very best friends to breast cancer.

Her name was Enika Gartner, I called her Enikers.  She was just a young 38 years old, and she left a wonderful husband and 3 beautiful, very young children behind.  She was supposed to walk the 3 Day with me last year, but passed away on October 24, 2009.  The 3 day was just weeks after her passing.  I remember opening ceremonies like it was yesterday.

Aside from having my children that moment was the most emotional experience I had ever endured.  I remember I couldn’t stop crying.  All I could think about was that she was supposed to be there with me.  I walked the 3 day last year, and my team has doubled this year, so here we are.  Our team name is called Enikers Sneakers.  We walk in memory of her, and all of the amazing women who have lost their battle to breast cancer.

I felt compelled to share a letter Enika wrote to me just 8 months before she died.  When I feel down and out and read this letter and think of her.  She reminds me that no matter how bad I have it, there is always someone somewhere out there that has it worse.  And that no matter what… I need to be eternally grateful for what God has given me.  I had lunch with her husband, Lawrence, today.  It’s always nice to see him andcatch up.  We laughed about the crazy things we used to do together.

I decided to put together a fund raiser.  My goal with this benefit is to touch YOU.  Yes I want to raise money to walk this year, but this goes far beyond the fundraising efforts for me.  I feel as if I am somehow able to keep her alive by celebrating her life with my friends and family.  Through this benefit you will get the sense of what Enika was all about, and just truly how honored I was to be her friend.

This benefit is not a memorial by any means.  I want everyone to laugh and play and mix and mingle.  This is what I call my “feel good” event for the year.

So please join me this Friday, and bring your friends along.  Have some grub, connect with people and local businesses.  Try the signature drink provided by Karlsson Gold Vodka, and truly just be.  Be present in the moment and appreciate who and what you are.  Because you are beautiful.

Below is a letter Enika wrote to me, and I wanted to share it:ealing breast cancer loss death

Hey Tiana,
I just wanted to send you a note. I know what Jay always makes sure you feel like a queen, but I wanted you to remember that you are an extraordinary mother, woman, and friend. I feel so honored to call you my friend and have you in my life. I know that no matter how I’m feeling, if I think of you I will always smile and be cheerful. You are so charmed and wonderful and I’m so glad that I have someone who can always remind me that good things happen to good people. You are a good person and your life is a blessing we all long to achieve.

I know sometimes that you think you don’t do enough for me. But I know you are there if I ever need you and that you will always be there for me. I love having you as my friend. Thank you for your prayers. See you Sunday


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