Take a step toward helping others | TheUnion.com

Take a step toward helping others

I’ll always remember how she loved daisies, and to this day I can still see her kitchen vase filled with her favorite flower.

She was young, beautiful and my best friend’s mother. I remember the day exactly. Connie and I had just walked in the door to hear her father say, “Hey girls, she’s home.” We were so excited to see her that we ran into her bedroom and jumped on her bed. The moment we jumped on her bed she let out a scream I will never forget. Connie and I jumped off the bed and ran out of the house. We ran until we couldn’t run anymore. After a few hours we had found enough strength to go home and try again, but by the time we got there they had taken her back to the hospital. Connie’s mother had cancer and that was the last time I ever saw her. My best friend lost her mother when she was 12, and I spent the last 30 years of my life wanting to comfort others.

The roads I have chosen to follow have led me to those who have been ill. I’ve known many who have survived their illnesses. I happened to be one. I believe we are all survivors until the very end, and even then we are survived by those who loved us. I believe when our bodies aren’t strong, our minds are perceptive and we are able to understand that life truly is: Priceless.

The other day my best friend, Melody Blaz, and I were chatting when she asked, “Gina, how did we become such good friends in such a short time?” We both, without hesitation, said, “Pam.” Last June, Melody stopped by my home to tell me that our dear friend, Pam Fagan, had cancer. I invited Melody in and we sat and chatted over a cup of coffee.

Our lives were so similar to Pam’s there was a connection between the three of us. It seemed while years had gotten away from each of us, the three of us were brought together in a moment because of Pam. Melody and I each got to spend time with Pam at different moments during her illness, and it’s with sadness that I write on Oct. 1, 2004, Pam died.

Last Thursday, I called and spoke with Paula Gleicher, chair of Relay for Life of Nevada County. Paula shared with me that Relay for Life is an overnight team event that raises awareness of cancer in our community and raises funds to fight cancer. The simplicity of this event is teams raise money, and then walk for 24 hours. I asked Paula why she chaired Relay for Life and she said, “The reason is cancer has touched my life.” While Paula has not had cancer, she has known many who have.

I would like to ask anyone who wants to help make a difference to join us. Melody Blaz and I are going to sponsor a “Just Mom” Relay for Life team. Teams are simple. Each team has 15 members and each member is asked to provide a minimum donation of $100. The more members we get, the more teams we can form. Relay for Life will be held June 4-5 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

Our team will be sponsoring three quilts in memory of our friend, Pam Fagan. The quilts are called PAMs (Prayers and Memories). At our booth, we will provide quilt blocks for all in attendance to sign. You can come and write your prayers for those who have/had cancer, and write your memories for those you loved. These three quilts will then be raffled off by the Cancer Center, at their annual picnic on June 5.

Thirty years ago, I ran out of a bedroom because I didn’t know how to comfort someone.

Now I know I no longer have to run, all I have to do is walk.

Please come join us.

For information on the following:

To join our Just Mom team, call 432-2868.

For information on Relay For Life of Nevada County, call Dawnmarine at 265-0286. For information on the Cancer Centers Annual Picnic, call Debbie Kirk at 274-6872.


Gina Gippner is a Penn Valley resident and mother of three. She can be reached via e-mail at justmom@nci-services.com or computer chat at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/justmom/

Her column appears every other Tuesday.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User