I’m sitting here with Eric in a hotel in Charleston, South Carolina. Fancy, new evening gown hanging in the closet. We’re here to support 4 of our advocates who have organized a fundraising gala at the Citadel for colorectal cancer awareness and treatment in South Carolina. C3 was thrilled to help sponsor the event.

While at the airport in New York this morning, I got word that one of our most treasured advocates, Rebecca Dague, lost her battle to the disease this week. We featured Rebecca in our newsletter last Fall. I spoke to her a few weeks ago. I knew that she was fighting a losing battle with Stage IV colon cancer, but I had no idea she was that sick and would go so quickly. She sounded great on the phone. She was all set to come to Washington, DC in March for our Call-On Congress lobby day. We’re bringing 30 advocates to DC for advocacy training and meetings on Capitol Hill. I simply can’t grasp that Rebecca won’t be there. Last year, she came to our training and lobby day for the first time. She had a visible rash from the treatment she had that morning. She told us that she happened to have been on the same flight with one of her Senators, so she chased him down at baggage claim to tell him why she was coming to DC. That’s just the kind of woman she was. Incredible centered, friendly, intelligent and a joy to talk to.

I don’t know exactly how old Rebecca was, but my guess is that she was in her early 30s. She leaves behind a husband and two young children.

I know this is an occupational hazard. Rebecca isn’t the first lost soul that I’ve cried over, and she won’t be the last. But it still hurts every time. I don’t know how medical professionals do it. Would I be better off doing something else with my life so I wouldn’t be faced with all this sickness and death? No, I don’t think so. I need the hurt to balance the incredible feeling of seeing the work we’re doing make a difference. When I stop crying over the losses is when I know it’s time to find something else to do.