Several hundred people gathered in Chicago to share memories of Andrea Harris, who was beloved by so many who knew her. It was an uplifting and beautiful experience.
"Andrea's Celebration of a Life Well Lived" was wonderful. Sunday morning, June 11, 2017 blossomed with a light that glowed like Andrea's smile. From the moment the photographs were hung from the overhead rafters in the Foreman Pavilion, everything appeared to be perfect, and it was.
Andrea's family and friends celebrated her life and accomplishments by relating stories and anecdotes in a beautiful, natural setting in Chicago's Lincoln Park. There were several hundred people who spent almost three hours listening to friends and relatives share their stories about Andrea. Joel's best friend Grant DeNapoli wrote a beautiful song for Andrea titled "Superhero". He performed it live and it drew tears and applause from everyone. You can listen to it here. Dylan Harris, Andrea's twelve year old grandson followed Grant's performance with an emotional goodbye to his beloved grandmother. Dylan drew tears from everyone.
We had planned on playing a number of voice recordings sent by out-of-town friends and relatives of Andrea who were unable to attend her celebration, but there was simply not enough time. These recordings will become part of this website in the near future. We will also add a short video of this inspiring event.
Andrea's sons—Joel and Aaron—Dylan, Bart and several of Andrea's closest friends were hosts of her celebration. It was an uplifting experience in many ways, but it also helped to give some closure to the untimely loss of a beautiful, intelligent, and talented woman who was beloved by so many who knew her.
Bart announced the newly formed "Andrea's Hope Foundation" as part of Andrea's legacy. The foundation will raise money to be used for ovarian cancer research, ovarian cancer clinical trials, and palliative and hospice care for end of life ovarian cancer patients in the hope their final days may be as peaceful, rich, comfortable, and filled with love as we were able to make Andrea's.
Various therapies such as music, massage, and pet therapy are not available for those without insurance. Even with insurance, most comfort level items are not covered. Things like bereavement counseling, ministerial counseling, nurse's aides for extended periods of time, and even hospice care for those without the ability to afford hospice itself are but a few of the things "Andrea's Hope Foundation" will endeavor to help fund for those who are in need.
As Andrea's husband of more then 47 years, my family and I are dedicating our time and energy in coming years with the hope of helping other families deal with the ultimate of life's devastating moments, the suffering and end of life brought on by this terrible disease. Andrea would be proud of everyone who participates in this battle.