A hero of mine died yesterday, Christine Stashko. Beautiful and smart, Chris was a free spirit, who would pull her car over to the shoulder to better appreciate a favorite song on the radiio. Her only true ambition was to start a family. It was not to be. Over 30 years ago, while still in her 20s, she noticed a numbness in one foot. It turned out to be a particularly aggressive case of MS.
She moved to Ft. Collins, Colorado for the cooler, dryer air, which helped her symptoms, and the spectacular views at the foothills of the Rockies. Whenever I was in Colorado for TPC meetings I would visit her. She always wrangled her scooter to the front of her house to greet us, no mean feat given she couldn’t sit up without help at the time. I’ll never forget her wonderful smile.
She loved Colorado, but was separated by half a Continent from family, and it was a struggle to get the day-to-day care she needed, a struggle shared with her mom,Tony. About 13 months ago she was admitted to a hospice center. Last month she was evicted for “overstaying” her welcome. Spunk! Pneumonia finally took her.
Facing incredible adversity, Chris demonstrated a resilience and a love of life that is rare. Though she had great cause, I never heard her once complain about her condition. A special person like Chris doesn’t come around often – she will be missed.