Sunday, March 01, 2009

Keep on celebrating

Once again, Erica continues to touch lives even after she's gone. Below is the email from Dean Sheehan of Fletcher School at Tufts University where they, too, will be hosting a service to remember Erica. Please note the highlighted paragraph: I am so proud of the Fletcher community for not only remembering Erica, but for continuing her message of awareness and hope for anyone in need of a bone marrow donor.

Last night, Andres and I had the honor to attend the Black Tie & Black Jack fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society NYC. It was inspiring that over 600 people were there showing their support to find a cure for blood cancers, even in this current economic slump. There were tables with black jack and roulette, drinks and hors d'oeuvres, and all proceeds went to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. A group of dancers known as the Cancer Dancers ( performed to a cheering crowd. The night was amazing.

This is a picture of Gayle Silverman (beautiful in blue along with her family), Andres' patient, who organized the whole event last night. She was diagnosed with AML at 21-years-old and begged him during her induction phase to let her go home and die. He refused to let her give up. Last night at the party, she gave a speech and specifically thanked Andres for saving her. The spotlight found him and everyone cheered. It was amazing and I was beaming with pride!

Erica is so present in every day of my life, my mom's life, her friends' lives... While I can only speak for myself and admit that I struggle frequently with sadness at her absence, I can also say that I feel her strength propelling me forward. Thanks for still keeping up on this blog with its occasional postings. It seems silly to continue to write, but Erica continues to motivate and inspire--what can I do??

With love, Jaci


Dear Members of the Fletcher Community,

Erica Murray, Fletcher MALD candidate, held a special place in the hearts of many at Fletcher. Her death in early December deeply impacted those who knew her and the many who knew her only through her blog, her Follies video, through discussions with those who did know her, or through other indirect contacts. Her vitality and optimism in the face of daunting health challenges moved us all.

We will hold a Celebration of Life for Erica Murray on Friday, April 17th at 3:30pm in ASEAN Auditorium with a reception following in the Hall of Flags. The Celebration will include music by the Ambassachords, readings and reflections by a few of Erica’s friends, and a few words from Erica’s sister, Jaci. Erica was someone who thrived in the diversity and vibrancy of Fletcher and was committed to building community and understanding, and all members of the Fletcher community are welcome, indeed encouraged to attend, whether you knew Erica personally or not.

While a few of Erica’s friends will speak at the Celebration, we know that many of you have memories of Erica, amusing anecdotes, telling insights, or a simply a fond remembrance. We would like to collect these memories to present to Jaci at the Celebration and we will try to select a representative sample to read at the Celebration. If you have an Erica memory or an Erica story that you would like to share with her family, please send it to Sarah Strong (

We also intend to project a photo slideshow at the beginning of the Celebration. Many of you have photos of Erica. Kindly send them to Sarah Strong as well.

Finally, students have expressed an interest in institutionalizing Erica’s memory at Fletcher. After consulting with Erica’s family, we have decided to hold an annual Erica Murray Bone Marrow Drive at the School. Christina Sass has kindly volunteered to organize the drive this year. She is still working out the details with the National Marrow Donor Program and we will be in contact with you shortly regarding the details.

Do send us your photos of Erica and your anecdotes and memories. Thank you.


Gerard F. Sheehan

Executive Associate Dean

Also, please also feel free to pass this invitation along to Fletcher alumni and others who may wish to attend.


Sara said...

It is not silly Jaci! I kept coming back to her Facebook profile and to this blog after Erica moved on from here, hoping to find something new to continue the connection... thanks for writing again!
Even those like me who knew her the most through this blog continue to think of her, to mourn her loss and be inspired and motivated and admire you and the rest of her family and close friends. Gioia came to Palestine recently and we talked a lot about your sister. Keep your head up Jaci! Hugs


Anonymous said...

my dear jaci, you keep writing because erica knows we are all still looking...
her body may not be working but her spirit continues to go on forever still reaching still inspiring...she is just working through are always in my thoughts and prayers and i miss your smile and your hugs...
robbin bobbin

SANDY H said...



Georg, Stephanie & Liam said...

It is really great to see the blog being updated. I frequent the site often just to see what's going on!
Hope you are well.


Connie said...

Dear Jaci,
I still check this blog often, too, and I am always happy to see any updates. Don't forget that your own story - of dealing with Erica's diagnosis; of having to deal with her death - has touched all of us.
You are one of the most vibrant examples I have seen of somebody keeping alive the memory of a loved one and, in that, you are giving me hope that life can continue after death, albeit in a different form.
We may never have met but, for what it's worth, I think of you and your mother very often and am sending you lots of strength and thank you for sending your updates.
All the best,
Connie, a Fletcher grad

Corinne said...

I keep checking this blog -- almost daily in fact. it became such a habit that (thankfully) its hard to loose. What a great story about Andres, how very inspiring. I'm glad Fletcher is doing something so special and I'll be making the trip to boston to be there.


Rachel Bird said...

Thanks for posting, Jaci. Erica is still in my thoughts.

Clif said...

Thanks for sharing, Jaci.

We all still think of her often.

Anonymous said...

What wonderful news Jaci! I check this blog now and then just hoping for such a post. She continues to inspire us all....could you ask for a life better lived?

Anonymous said...

Jaci, please keep writing. Erica's story is far from over. She continues to inspire and make a difference, as do you.
Best wishes,

artineh said...

Dear Jaci,
You are right that Erica is still very present in our lives. I'll read a book that reflects her philosophies and I'm reminded of her. I'll go to Oxy for this or that event and I'm reminded of her. I'll contemplate my next travel plans and I'm reminded of her... she is certainly alive in spirit, and I'm glad you are keeping her memory alive with this blog. I think of you and your mom often too, and am hoping you are OK. Give your mom a big, tight hug for me when you see her.

Andy said...

Hi there.Just wanted to say that we are also actively searching for bone marrow donors here across in the UK.Erica's story and her song! are such a motivation to others who are suffering from Leukemia...myself included :-)

Keep up the good work, and just to let you know also that the song is now posted on my website here:

Best wishes.Andy

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree with all those who have written to say that it is not at all silly to continue to post on this blog. I was so glad to hear a little something from you, Jaci, and to reconnect to this community that formed as we followed Erica's journey. As someone who almost exclusively knew Erica through the blog, I continue to be amazed at how deeply impressed and affected I have been by Erica's spirit, despite not knowing her personally. Something very unique, special and almost mysterious happened in this little corner of cyberspace. Thank you for helping to keep that spirit alive!

Anonymous said...

This blog can exist forever and it will NEVER be silly for any one of us to come back to it FREQUENTLY. It's a source of comfort for many. I come here frequently because even though Erica isn't "here" I still feel her with me...most often when something ridiculous happens and I need a good laugh or when I need a cheerleader. Erica was my best cheerleader...she still is.

Anonymous said...

Mi querida Jaci, please keep writing. Let's continue to celebrate Erica's life with this blog and every other way that we find. She will be forever in our hearts and minds.
I'm hoping to be at Fletcher in April!


LEB said...

I wanted to let you know that Loyola Law School in Los Angeles is having a bone marrow registry drive today (March 26) in part because of the awareness Erica brought to the issue. With any luck, we will be able to make this an annual event, and in that way, I hope that Erica's spirit and generosity continue.

Hope you are doing well,
Lauren Beglin, Oxy Class of 2004

Anonymous said...

it's not silly at all - I still check too, thinking of erica, and hoping to hear how you are doing. thanks for continuing to share your story with all of us!

much love

Clif said...

I always check this blog too. Often when I update my Livejournal, I scroll down and re-read some of the entries I wrote about Erica.

Frances said...

Hi Jaci,

I don't know if you remember this: after your family moved from Vancouver to Seattle years ago, I used to visit your family on weekends.

If you get this note, could you please tell me how your mom is doing, and let me know how to contact her. I will be visiting San Francisco next week, and I hope to visit your mom if possible.

I found this blog by accident, and was inspired by Erica's fighting spirit, but my heart hurts when I learned her passing in December.

I'd be delighted to hear from you soon. My email:

Frances Chen

Anonymous said...

I wish I could have been at the event at Fletcher, but I have been thinking of Erica and all of you. I'm so glad there will be an event each year that will get new donors.

Andrea said...

I'm so glad you are still posting on this blog. I think of Erica often and also think of you, Jaci, and your family. I imagine you must be so sad, and I admire the strength you've demonstrated to keep going. I'm sure it's really, really hard. You have all my support and admiration.

It's inspiring that Erica continues to touch so many people.

Anonymous said...

How are you doing, Jaci? Still checking and missing your posts....and, of course, Erica's. Hope you are doing well. Blessings and prayers.

anonymous said...

Keep posting. For those of us who followed this blog regularly, we want to know how you and your mom are doing. You both inspired us too.