Amazing Morning for our Amazing Amy

26 05 2012

WOW, what an amazing morning it was at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 2012. Comerica Park was filled with thousands of people in pink, all there for someone they loved and it really hit me how many people’s lives have been affected by this terrible disease.  Amy’s Walking Angels was shining bright and as I looked at our team today, all gathered together in our Amy t-shirts, I was filled with such sadness for a moment. I was sad that Amy wasn’t here to see her team walk with such love & support for her, but then I felt this overwhelming sense of peace because I knew in my heart she was there. She has been and always will be the leader of her team, Amy’s Walking Angels. Thank you to everyone who came out today and supported our team…..even with the rain.  I know Amy was looking down at her team just beaming with pride. I look forward to next year’s walk and hope that you will all join me.  Amy may be gone, but she forever & always will be in our hearts. We love you Amy!  Until next year, God Bless you all.

 Love & Hugs,  Mollie Finch

“PROUD” Team Captain

                                                     

   As some of us said today… Amy sent the rain because she was mad she wasn’t there with us.  Anything to get attention…yep that’s our Amazing Amy!!

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Amy’s Walking Angels – Fox 2 Detroit News Story

24 05 2012

Thanks Mollie Finch, a dear friend of Amy’s for organizing this walk for the last 6 years.  Also to Amy Lange with myFOXDetroit.com for continuing to share Amy’s story.  Click on the link below to view tonight’s video story.  If you would like to join Amy’s Walking Angels, please register with Race for the Cure (link below) and meet us this Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 8:00am in front of Comerica Park by the “Tiger”.   We love and miss you Amy and know that you will be there in spirit every step of the way. 

Amy LangeBy AMY LANGE
WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com

Amy’s Walking Angels Raising Money

WJBK – Just one year ago, Amy Rauch Neilson was leading her pack of Amy’s Walking Angels at Race for the Cure. Amy passed away earlier this month, losing her battle with stage 4 breast cancer, but her team continues to fight for a cure this year.

Watch Amy Lange’s full video report for more.  Click link below (it works, just not sure why there’s a line through it)

http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/dpp/news/amy_lange/amy%27s-walking-angels-raising-money-20120524-km

Mollie Finch started Amy’s Walking Angels in 2006, after Amy’s first bout with breast cancer. Although Amy is gone, her team is always looking to grow. If you want to join their team or donate money to help find a cure for breast cancer, click here.

Click here to see the original story from 2011.





Fond Memories by Emily Sybert to Aunt Amy

16 05 2012

Emily Sybert, Amy’s niece, wrote this paper for her English class about her Aunt Amy.  She also shared it with us at Amy’s celebration of life service.

            Good memories are something that most of us will cherish for a lifetime.  Recalling a certain fragrance, favorite song, or meal can unlock those doors to the past.  Life is full of many challenges that are thrust upon you each day, each one different, but as in every circumstance a person must work through his or her obstacles and have faith that they will indeed make it to a safe haven on the other side.  We are all uniquely crafted in God’s image, and each of us has a story to tell.  This is my story and recollection of my beloved Aunt Amy.

        When I think of days past when my family would go to visit my aunt Amy, her husband Don and their little boy Theo (short for Theodore, my grandpa’s name) the home was always filled with the laughter, and sounds of conversations from many of family and close friends.  We would spend many a summer days down by their lake or taking a pontoon boat ride out to a favorite spot where lots of boaters anchored, and where we could jump in and enjoy the cool splash of the water caressing our bodies.  July 4th parties were amazing.  Not only was it Independence Day, but it was also the anniversary of my aunt and uncle’s marriage, so uncle Don always had many fireworks to enjoy that lit up the night sky with such brilliance.  Did I mention the smores? They were so delightful, amazingly yummy as you bit into the crunchy, gooey marshmallow and chocolate center.  Everyone wanted one.  Moreover, the birthday parties for my little cousin were likened unto being at the reptile exhibit at the Detroit Zoo.  Theo, my little cousin has always had an affinity with slimy snakes, frogs and the like.  My aunt would always be adding another reptilian to Theo’s aquarium, which he absolutely loved.  On occasion, I was fortunate enough to witness powdered covered crickets being fed to Theo’s frogs.  Indeed, my aunt Amy knew how to throw a great birthday party, and the bigger the better; more people that is.  A blue stone plaque is attached beside the front door post to their home that is engraved with the words “remember to welcome strangers on occasion, by doing so you may have entertained angels unaware”, a verse taken right out of the Bible in the book of Hebrews.  These are the memories that I choose to tuck away in my secret place.  

Now there is a chill in the air as I contemplate walking through her home, a sudden rush of sadness sweeps over me.  A barrage of sad feelings, rushing toward me with great intensity, has now assaulted the fond memories that have been hidden in that secret place.  You see, my aunt Amy went home to be with the Lord on Sunday, May 6th.  The cancer that she had been battling for the last 16 months finally got the best of her.  She was certainly too young, only 43, and left behind her husband, son, sisters, and many more family and friends that will always cherish a part of her in their hearts.  I will be able to move past this sad day.  With the help of my Lord and savior, Jesus will take my hand and those of others, and will walk with us sending us His peace and comfort which passes all human understanding.  He will begin to restore that sacred place in my heart over the weeks and months to come, so that someday I might be able to share with others the legacy of Amy and God’s healing power of restoration.





Amy – TPE Mother of the Year 2012

13 05 2012

Michelle Wolford Ball nominated Amy for Mother of the Year for the TPE Post.  Michelle writes, “Amy was not only the “Mother of the Year,” she was the mother of a lifetime. She was a fighter, lover, and genuinely great person. She will absolutely be missed by all those who knew her and always be seen as a woman who not only made the most of her remaining time, but a woman who celebrated her life by extensively searching for a cure that will perhaps be the answer for those who succeed her.”

Here is the link to Michelle’s nomination for Amy:

http://tpepost.com/announcements/tpe-mother-of-the-year-admired-and-loved-by-all/

Here is the link honoring Amy as Mother of the Year by TPE Post (article below):

http://tpepost.com/opinion/while-facing-death-one-woman-taught-us-about-life/

 

While facing death, one woman taught us about life

ByTrish Brown

– May 12, 2012

Naming the Mother of the Year is one of the fun parts of running a news publication, and this year is TPE’s first, though it is not a normal announcement. This one comes with joy and a great deal of sorrow.

As publisher of the TPEPost.com I am happy to announce our TPE Mother of the Year as Amy Rauch Neilson , 43, of Farmington Hills, MI. Amy was nominated because of her spirit, her determination and her courage in fighting cancer, and defeating it, only to have it wage war against her again and to continue with the same determination and perseverance to attempt to defeat it again.

In an interview with a local Detroit television station Amy was quoted as saying her six-year-old son, Theo, was her reason for having the immense courage to go up against the deadly killer a second time.

“It terrifies me. I don’t want him to grow up without a mom,” she said in that interview. “I will do anything I can to make sure I am here to raise him.”

 Amy and her family

Unfortunately, Amy lost her battle a week ago.

The decision to name Amy as TPE Mother of the Year 2012 was made the night before she passed away.  In the 25 years I have been doing this, I have to admit this is a first.  I have given it a lot of thought and have drawn some conclusions or lessons we all can learn from Amy.

The first one is never give up.

The second one is some thing I have known for a long time, but have many friends and colleagues who haven’t learned.  We live to love and be loved.

The third is no matter how wonderful you are, or how smart, charming, rich and famous, no one is promised a tomorrow.

If we all lived each day cherishing the little things, we would be so surprised to learn how much happiness is right in front of us.

As we all celebrate Mother’s Day remembering our moms who are  still here, and those who have passed away, don’t forget to take every chance you get to show love and to allow yourself to be loved by others.

We are so thankful for the story Michelle Ball, who is part of team Amy, shared with us. And we are thankful to Michelle for allowing us to have a glimpse into Amy’s spirit, and the way she led her life in good times and in bad.

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms and we wish the best for Amy’s son Theo and her husband, Don, and her other family members and her many, many friends. God Bless!





Amy Rauch Neilson’s Celebration of Life

11 05 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

Josh Isenhardt of NorthRidge Church in Plymouth delivered Amy’s celebration of life.  On a beautiful sunny day, with standing room only, family and friends joined together to remember Amy and celebrate her life.   

Amazing Grace – Sung by Carrie Brown Wilson

Good morning and welcome.  Thank you so much for joining us today as we celebrate Amy’s life and as we grieve together at her loss.  The family is grateful to share this time with you.

Eulogy

Amy Rauch-Neilson, age 43, of Belleville, died at home following a valiant battle with cancer.

Amy is the beloved wife of 12 years to Donald; devoted mother to Theo; and loving sister of Julie (Jim) Peace and Lisa (David) Sybert. Amy is also survived by many nieces, nephews, additional relatives and friends.

Though I didn’t have the privilege of knowing Amy personally, after spending time with her husband and son this week, I truly wish I had.  Amy was the kind of wife, mother, sister, and friend that breathed life into relationships, brought hope into difficult circumstances, gave generously of whatever she had, and moved through each day with a contagious zeal for living.  On her blog she wrote, “Oprah says 50 is the new 30. I say ordinary is the new extraordinary.”  And it was with this mindset that she approached every new experience.

Amy was a gifted writer and used her talent not only to help provide for her family, but also to raise awareness about her type of cancer and bring hope through her story.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy her blog, Amy chronicled her journey with this awful disease in a touching, wit-filled, and candid way that only a skilled writer such as herself could do.  It is a gift to anyone with a family, anyone with cancer, and well, just plain anyone.  Her writing echoed the openness with which she lived in every other arena of her life.

Amy lived with open arms; making new friends at every turn while, at the same time, nurturing and caring for the ones she already had.  When Amy made a friend, it was a friend for life.  Amy loved having people around her. Don shared with me how he would get a call in the early afternoon that a friend was coming over for dinner and by the time he got home, it could very well balloon into a full blown party!  She truly had the gifts of open-handedness and hospitality and loved to exercise them regularly.  Many of you know Amy this way and understand from first hand experience just how valuable, and how scarce, a friend like Amy can be.  A true testament to Amy was that those you knew her the best, loved and respected her the most.

You would be hard pressed to find a mother more dedicated to her child than Amy was to Theo.  Mornings at the Neilson household could quickly turn into frog hunts in the back yard and by simply looking at Theo, it is readily apparent that he has been loved with a ferocious and intense kind of love.  The openness and optimism with which Theo approaches life can only develop under the caring nurture of loving parents. 

Amy took the very best parts of herself and poured them whole-heartedly into her relationship with Don.   Don told me about their wedding and it is such a touching reminder of who Amy was to her core.  When Don and Amy were still in the earlier stages of their relationship they made a trip to Holland, MI and stayed at a bed and breakfast there.  In the typical Amy fashion, the innkeeper quickly became a dear and close friend.  So much so, that when it came time to get married, Amy insisted that everybody make the drive out to the other side of the state so that the wedding could be held in a chapel down the street from that very same bed and breakfast!  She went to great lengths to care for her family. Even as she was transitioning out of this life, she made it a point to put everything into order to make the experience as easy as possible for those she was leaving behind.  At a time when she had every reason to dwell on herself and her circumstance, she made it a point for focus outwardly on the ones she loved so dearly.

In this life we encounter grabbers and givers; those that take whatever they can get and those who give whatever they have.  Amy was a giver of the highest order and this room is filled with people that are better off for having known her. 

 Speaking from the heart

  • Uncle Skip Rauch
  • Niece Emily Sybert
  • Don’s brother Jim Neilson

Message

Though today is a day of mourning as we are grieved by the loss of Amy from our everyday lives, we have several reasons to celebrate and today we choose to do so.  

We celebrate that Amy lived her life well

Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly[a] with your God.

Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

We celebrate that Amy beat Cancer

Cancer may have won the battle against Amy’s physical body, but that was on its way out anyway.  Cancer did not defeat her soul nor break her spirit. And now, God has given her a new body! 

2 Corinthians 5:1-3 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.  Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling,  because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.

We celebrate that Amy is at home in Heaven

John 14:1-6 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

  • What does love require of you? 
  • Is there something in this life that is defeating your soul and crushing your spirit?
  • Where will you spend eternity?

A version of The Lord’s Prayer – Sung by Carrie Brown Wilson 

Benediction

May the Lord bless you and keep you.  May his face shine on you and be gracious to you; may He lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.  Amen

 Special Note:  At the cemetary today, several friends witnessed a red cardinal that flew over Amy’s final resting place.

 





Belleville View Article – by Jerry LaVaute

10 05 2012

Memorial Service Today, 5/10 from 12-8pm.   Heeney-Sundquist Funeral Home in Farmington, MI.

BELLEVILLE: Amy Rauch Neilson loses battle with cancer

Published: Tuesday, May 08, 2012

By Jerry LaVaute
Special Writer

Amy Rauch Neilson was an active blogger about her battle with cancer.

Amy Rauch Neilson, who began a blog in 2006 to share with others her battle with breast cancer and the support she received, died on Sunday, May 6. She is survived by her husband Don and six-year-old son Theodore, two sisters and other relatives and friends.

Amy was 43, and was a resident of Belleville for over a decade.

Her blog was titled “It’s in the genes,” and had 1,359 followers. A blog update that was posted on May 7 said that there were 3,200 hits on Sunday, and over 4,900 hits on Monday.

The link to Heritage Media’s community blog is http://itsinthegenes.org/. Amy stopped writing the blog in March, but it was continued by her friends and supporters. The last entry was on Monday, the day after she succumbed.

Shortly after being diagnosed early in 2006, her friends began a team that participated in the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure each May. The team calls itself “Amy’s Walking Angels.” The next Race for the Cure is scheduled for May 26 at 8 a.m. To learn more about her team, click http://www.active.com/donate/detroitRFTC12/2012MFinch.Kristi Rugh Kahl, a friend since 7th grade, described the spark inside Amy that enabled her to connect so effectively with others. “She wrote from her heart,” Kahl said.

The family will receive guests at the funeral home on Wednesday, May 9, from 4-8 p.m., and Thursday, May 10, from Noon-8 p.m.

Funeral Services are planned for Friday, May 11, 11 a.m. (in state at 10 am) at Northridge Church, 49555 North Territorial Road, (at Ridge Road), Plymouth, 734-414-7777. Cemetery prayers will take place Friday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. at Parkview Memorial Cemetery, Livonia for immediate family only. Memorial tributes are suggested to Beaumont Hospice or a fund to benefit Theo’s education.

In Amy’s first blog, titled “Support in a Sea of Pink,” she wrote of her first experience with the race: “Along the way, I stopped to take a photo of a group of young girls waving hot pink pom-pons who were cheering for the walkers. As I got closer and focused my camera lens, they noticed my pink survivor T-shirt and began cheering very loudly – just for me. I was so taken aback that my rarely-seen shy side came out and I actually blushed.”

“But, as I rejoined my group and continued the walk, it also served as a reminder that in the battle of breast cancer, we are never alone.”





Tribute to Amy by Robin Erb – Detroit Free Press Medical Writer

9 05 2012

Amy Rauch Neilson redefined the word “battle.”

When it comes to cancer, that word is often overused and exaggerated. Most people do what the doctors tell them and hope and pray for the best.

Not Neilson. The Belleville writer and mother of a frog-loving little boy named Theo would have none of that. She died Sunday at 43, but not before a public knock-down, drag-out fight with the cancer-causing genetic mutation, BRCA1.

She chronicled her life with cancer on her blog, www.itsinthegenes.org, had nearly finished writing a book and was twice featured in the Free Press.

But the chromosomal misprint threaded through the Rauch family predisposes carriers to cancer, especially breast and ovarian. It most likely killed her mother and grandmother. For carriers of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation and their loved ones, life’s decisions — marriage, children, jobs and health insurance — become painful considerations of mortality.

Rauch Neilson asked doctors after her 2006 treatment to slice away her ovaries and breasts. Her reasoning: Take away cancer’s real estate so it can’t return.

But in January 2011, relaxed and warming herself by the fireplace after a winter romp outside with her husband, Don Neilson, and son, Theo, she found another lump — this one grape-sized — wedged between her breast implant and skin.

“She was devastated by the second diagnosis,” said longtime friend Kristi Kahl, 43.

Frustrated and angry, she ran into the snowy winter blackness one night soon after the diagnosis, Rauch Neilson told the Free Press last year. Outside the family home on Edison Lake, she glared skyward to where God might be: “Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me?” she screamed.

Then she turned to her writing.

“Since I was 8 years old, I knew I was a writer. I followed a very predictable path to realizing my dream,” she wrote. “But all this time, I tried to deny what I knew was a big part of what I’d been put on this Earth to do — provide as much real, no-holds-barred information for women with breast cancer, and in particular, those who carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 breast cancer genes — as I could.”

Loved ones and strangers read of Rauch Neilson’s lonely and tear-filled moments, but also everyday pleasures — watching Theo hang bulbs on the Christmas tree, a ride on a tractor with her husband on a chilly winter day and gluing glitter on a pair of black pumps with a friend for a Bras for a Cause fund-raiser.

In person and online, she was “uplifting and funky (and) passionate about everything,” Kahl said.

Whether at cancer awareness events, at the grocery story or on family vacations, Rauch Neilson became a walking dictionary for anyone who would listen to information about cancer-fighting foods, clinical trials and phrases such as “PARP inhibitors” and “lymphocytes.”

She posted new research and news stories on her blog for others diagnosed with cancer.

“First and foremost, she wanted to beat this for her son,” said Dr. Dana Zakalik, Rauch Neilson’s oncologist at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. “But she also wanted to be an example and inspiration for other patients. She attacked this with great enthusiasm, great optimism and great belief.”

By December, the cancer had spread to her bones. Rauch Neilson joined friends and loved ones at a local park, where they set sky lanterns in her honor.

Now, family and friends will work to get a book published about her cancer. She finished it in the fall and had been in the process of organizing its chapters and getting it edited, Kahl said.

For now, her husband said his focus is Theo, who sat with his mom in the hospital room two weeks ago, in the quiet after doctors delivered the news: There would be no more treatment.

It was his wife who best prepared Theo to continue to live and love, Don Neilson said.

“She was a wonderful, loving mom and a wonderful, loving wife,” he said. “Her blog was about breast cancer, but she didn’t let that be who she was.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click link to make a donation to Theo’s College Fund via Paypal

Or Checks Payable to:

Amy Rauch Neilson Benefit

PO Box 580

Milford, MI 48381

Thank you for keeping Amy’s family in your thoughts and prayers.








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