I am my mother’s son. Her name is Donna Cohen.
When I was five my family consisted of a father, a mother, a sister, a brother, and me.
When I was six my family consisted of two: my father and I.
As a six year old, I thought my mother would live forever. My mother was our support, our glue as a family, our fun, and our discipline. She was always the life of every party and she had a knack for bringing people together. Even in the face of a fatal pancreatic cancer diagnosis, nothing much changed in her- she continued to have the same flame within her, unwilling to relinquish that part of her. My mother continued to be our glue, our fun, our discipline, and the life of the party.
Several months of care came and went, countless doctor visits and accrued medical costs. Many nights at the dinner where we ignored the elephant in the room: we were unwilling to accept that she was dying.
One day, after all that, Donna - my mother - did not come home from the doctor’s visit.
In 1996, the treatment available was insufficient to help her.
Which is why I am doing this charity event.
Here I am, about to be 29 years old, alive and well, after 22 years without my mother. It is my desire to celebrate and honor my mother’s memory by giving back in any way I can so families like mine don’t have to deal with the pain that we endured and overcame. My mother worked for a nonprofit named Habitat for Humanity and spent her life giving; now it is my turn to do the same.
Now it’s our turn to make a difference.