Rethink Remembers: Tracy Sheridan
Tracy, I’m sure this happened to you a lot, but from our first phone call, I felt a connection. Maybe it was because we were both raising teen daughters the same age and we were just a couple of weeks apart in age ourselves (with all our Gen-X references). Your breast cancer had already become metastatic by the time we first met, and I knew in my heart we likely didn’t have a lot of time. Yet, in not much more than a year, you left me with so many warm hugs, so many smiles and so much inspiration. You were simply a genuine, kind person with a huge heart and a lovely, natural warm way about you.
At our first meeting, we sat in your upstairs skincare studio, and your caregiver vibes were in full force, making me a latte, making sure I had a comfy cushion and was “taken care of” before you shared your story and your idea.
It didn’t surprise me that the purpose of our meeting was because you wanted to use your upcoming milestone birthday to help others. With friends and family asking what you wanted to do for your 50th bday, the thought of being the centre of attention at a party made you cringe. Part of you wanted the day to quietly come and go. But when your hubby Brad pressed, you started to think about what the milestone means, what it really means. You gave me a knowing look, not wanting to say aloud what I knew was on your mind. “Would there be another milestone birthday? Would there be another birthday at all?” But this quick pause was broken with, “I suddenly told him ‘Let’s get the band back together and have a fundraiser!’”
Tracy, maybe you didn’t care for the spotlight, but you certainly had big ideas and knew how to champion others. You’d learned from your step-sister Krista, a long-time Rethink committee member, that our charity was doing a lot of advocacy to help those with MBC. And so, getting a much-loved local 80s band back on stage wasn’t just to raise funds for “breast cancer” – it became an awareness, education and call-to-action night for others to become allies and raise funds to address MBC issues.
Chalk Circle and Friends: Be Tracy’s Ally was a magical, outstanding night at Lee’s Palace in Toronto. I’m so very happy the event happened in the nick of time – literally days before lock-down last March. You looked stunning in your striking red suit. You were nervous to get up on stage and speak to the packed house. As we waited in the wings, you shot me a “what have I done” grin. But the enormous love in the room bolstered you. And, while everyone was there to be your ally, your ask of the crowd was not for you. You wanted to pay it forward.
How could the call from such a generous heart not be answered? You crushed your original goal. You crushed your stretch goal. You raised four times what you thought you would.
Tracy, I’m so sad you didn’t make it to your next birthday. I’m so grateful you generously paid forward your birthday party last year, even though it meant enduring the spotlight. In our email banter the morning after the concert, you told me: “Loved every second of it! Even my stage fright!”
I know you would have also loved being a part of the news we’re sharing soon—Rethink will be announcing a new research project that aims to improve the care and outcomes of those with MBC.
Tracy, the reality of metastatic breast cancer means you were taken too soon. You didn’t have enough time. But I know the time you were here on earth was so well-spent and that you will live on in your loved ones.
Thank you, Tracy. And rest in peace.
– xo MJ