Tribute: Disease did not stop her from spreading kindness.

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Offline Danielle

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Tribute: Disease did not stop her from spreading kindness.
« on: February 28, 2006, 08:49:22 AM »
*Newspaper article that Andy posted on MSN forum - 10/22/04*

Tribute: Disease did not stop her from spreading kindness
Three hundred people flocked to the funeral of Lisa Cammilleri, including Mayor Bill Johnson, Police Chief Bob Duffy and dozens of her co-workers from the Rochester Police Department. Lisa, 34, died of a rare disease called Cooley's anemia. All her life she required monthly blood transfusions and came to see this as normal. When she was in kindergarten, she would ask the other kids, "When do you get your blood?"

From the day I gave her her first Communion at age 7, I knew Lisa was a very special person. The doctors told her she would never make it to adulthood but she fought with a fierce passion for life.

She taught me two lessons. First, life is short, so make the most of it. Lisa said she was grateful for every day she got up and for every breath she took. She used every opportunity to fill the people around her with love, laughter and kindness.

The second lesson is to use your sufferings not to become bitter but more compassionate. Lisa started her own Web site for others who struggle with Cooley's anemia. Hundreds worldwide found support and encouragement from it.

Evidence of Lisa's profound effect on others is her co-workers' decision to donate 90 days of their own sick time so Lisa would not lose pay as she awaited a liver transplant. The hospital had to cut off the waiting list for friends who were willing to donate half of their livers. Why this outpouring of love? Because they knew Lisa would have been the first to be there for them.

She understood that God's plan for her was not to be rich or famous or perfect. It was only to love. Just like Someone else who also died in his young 30s. Thanks, Lisa. You're the best.

Callan is associate pastor, Spiritus Christi Church.


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