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I need a reminder….

October 12, 2009
Has there been a time in your life that was a significant time that you said to yourself “I will never forget this!” I have had many times in my life like that…and have uttered those very words….but sometimes need a jolting reminder of what I did not want to forget….last night I was reminded of a time that I never want to forget…..

Stephanie Vasofsky. That is a name that has been ringing in our home for a long time. Stephanie and I met at Kate Bond Elementary where I was already teaching….and then she came on board. We taught in the “outback” which was the portables. We absolutely loved it out there and had a blast teaching together. We became great friends….Stephanie was one of those friends that you could tell anything to….she was always so encouraging and made me laugh all the time. Fast forward a few years….I am now a mommy to Samuel and become a stay at home mommy….our friendship did not change…we just did not get to see each other everyday. Stephanie finds out she is pregnant!!!! Oh my how fun she was when she found out! I remember the conversations on the phone so well….we were talking on the phone when she took the pregnancy test….POSITIVE!

She is several weeks into the pregnancy (15 weeks) when she calls me after school and tells me she thinks she has Fifths Disease…the “slapped cheek” disease is what I have always heard it called. She told me that she had called the dr and he wanted to do an ultrasound to check the baby. The chances of the baby getting this while in the womb where slim to none….no worries. During the ultrasound of course she finds out she is having a boy….Zain would be he name. She had to go every Friday afternoon for an ultrasound to check the baby “just in case”….on the 3rd week of going, which put her at 18 weeks….baby Zain was not moving….how could this be? I will not go into great detail here….but you could imagine the sadness, the loss…this was on a Friday….she was back at school on Monday to teach. I remember us talking on the phone as she was driving to school….I was searching for the right words to say to her…she was not looking for any words….just friendship….

Fast forward….she is pregnant with Zoe!!! Very exciting times…but very scary as well. But Stephanie knows that her GOD is good…and He is good! Just to be safe and for Stephanie’s mind….an ultrasound was done a few times just to look at Miss Zoe….she was perfect! Oh the joy! Zoe Vasofsky was born on October 13, 2005….do you think that it ever entered Stephanie’s mind that she would not be here to raise this child for very long?? Has that ever entered your mind?

Fast Forward….Zoe is 18 months old….it is April 2007….a baby….Stephanie goes to the dr….she finds out she has stage 3B cervical cancer. A few days later that is moved to stage 4 cervical cancer…the worst…it has spread to her lymph nodes in her neck. So the trials begin. Yet another time of calls and visits….me searching for the words to say….I turn to the Bible…and we drink in God’s Word….scripture after scripture we read together….praying those scriptures over and over again….Stephanie stands strong….

She endures chemo, external radiation, internal radiation, blood transfusions, shots, pokes….she has another scan in July….the original tumoron the cervix is dead….GOOD NEWS! I can remember praising God….Stephanie was going to make it! The chemo continued…there were several times that she could not get chemo because her counts were too low….she was sick. To be honest, I believe within the deepest part of my heart that Stephanie knew her journey would end soon…she knew that it was about her time to see Jesus face to face. I know that many of us watching never wanted that thought to enter our minds….so it was pushed out….

Fast forward….it is October 18, 2007….Stephanie was getting the results back from a big scan….the news was unbearable…the cancer had spread….everywhere. Dr. Santoso explains that they were up against a brick wall….her treatment was over. Although this was a very emotional time for all of us around her it was a time of putting on the war suit….it was time to fight….it was time to help….it was time to put others first….it was time to put Stephanie first…..and so that is what happened! Stephanie remained completely positive. For those of you who have never read her story, I encourage you to do so. My words would never do her justice….her “encouragement” to others was a blessing….she was the blessing. As we tried to minister to her, she ministered to us. How could she face death with such a positive outlook? I have the answer…..JESUS!

Stephanie got busy as did the rest of us, leaving memories and a legacy for Zoe…and others. Steph wrote letters, wrapped gifts for Zoe for the future, she made scrapbooks, she was interviewed by Fox News Memphis, she proudly confessed that she loved Jesus with all she had….and she left this disease at His feet…..

In December 2007, Stephanie could not get out of bed. Her time was nearing…but she fought hard! Her days and nights were too difficult to describe…hospice was called to take over. On January10th, 2008 I would see my dear friend for the last time on earth….her hands clasped as if praying, and arms raised…..January 11th, 2008 at 2:20am….she met Jesus face to face….no more cancer….beautiful!!!

After Stephanie found out that she was not going to live much longer, she asked family and friends to start a foundation….and so the Stephanie Vasofsy Cervical Cancer Foundation was formed. Stephanie even helped invent the PRAY logo that was use….Pray Race and Yell for a Cure! She wanted others to know about cervical cancer, HPV, and the Gardasil vaccination that prevents cervical cancer. Her journey would live on….to share her faith in Jesus…and educate about this disease….

On November 7th at the Memphis Botanic Gardens we will come together again to celebrate with a dinner and silent auction. The mission of the foundation is education….we want to be able to get out and tell other girls that this cancer can be prevented! Would you like to attend this event? Would you like to donate an item to the silent auction? If so you can let me know by sending me an email at the address below. Thanks for allowing me to share this note…..just needed to share.


Stephanie with little Zoe and her oncologist Dr. Santoso.
One Comment leave one →
  1. Audrey Jacobi permalink
    October 12, 2009 5:03 pm

    What a great friendship, and her legacy will grow because of all of you. And how ironic I was just telling someone about her story sunday to a girl whose best friend has cervial cancer and told her to read up on Stephanie. Also told her to get her friend to Dr. Santos.

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