Why I Care Walk: In Memory of a Friend
Sharon Radonis’ Story:
I became involved with the Care Walk after losing my childhood best friend Michelle Palermo-DiMaggio to complications from this illness on March 6, 2011. I wanted to get involved with the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation to help find a cure so no one else has to suffer the way that Michelle did. I grew up with Michelle and had attended fundraisers with her for the Foundation; now that she is no longer with us, I feel like I need to continue her journey to find a cure.
In April of 2011, I found the information about the Care Walk on the Cooley’s Anemia Foundations website and contacted Dean Hernan, who was organizing the Care Walk at Bethpage State Park. I then created my team “In Loving Memory of Michelle Palermo-DiMaggio” with Michelle’s family and friends. The Walk was held on May 1, 2011; our team goal was $2,000, which we successfully beat and raised $2,245!
The following year, on May 6, 2012, I held the Care Walk in Michelle’s and my hometown of Bellport Village, Bellport, NY. It was a huge success!!! We raised over $16,500!!! Verizon Fios 1 News covered the Walk, and the segment was nominated for an Outstanding MyLITV Video Journalism Award.
This Walk was particularly special to me because I met a new family through my constant press for the walk, that had a 3 month old daughter that was recently diagnosed with thalassemia major. The family joined our walk and was introduced to the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation. This was my proof that my efforts were working and I have to continue my fundraising efforts to find a cure so that this beautiful little baby will live a long healthy pain free life.
Michelle and I met when we were 11 years old in the 6th grade at Bellport Middle School, Bellport, NY 11713. We were inseparable and quickly became part of each other’s families. We went through many of life’s “first moments” together: first crushes, first boyfriends, first kisses, first loves, heartbreaks, etc. We were married 5 months apart and were each other’s maid of honor .We also have sons that are 1 year, 3 weeks apart.
We loved each other like sisters, and of course we fought with each other like sisters. No matter what life challenges we faced, no matter how long we may have gone at times without speaking, we always went right back to where we left off like time stood still. I miss her dearly.
I’m glad I can honor her memory each year with her family by organizing a Care Walk to help find a cure for this painful illness she struggled with.
If you’re not involved in a Care Walk yet, you can register yourself at http://bit.ly/carewalk2018.