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.