Sadly, I began the first week of the year by attending a funeral.
Alexis Wronzberg, who died last week in Israel, was by all accounts a vibrant young woman with a winning smile that matched her love of life.
Toronto’s Jewish community joined her family and friends in rallying for her last fall when she suffered a recurrence of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, raising $300,000 so she could travel to Israel for treatment that was not available here. In November, she received a bone marrow and stem cell transplant from her mother, Debra.
At her funeral yesterday morning, four of her grieving friends – each wearing a scarf in tribute to Alexis’ sense of style – recalled her strength, positive attitude, and her capacity for love, friendship and living in the moment.
“Precious, beautiful, funny, caring, loving, giving Alexis” was the way Rabbi Philip Scheim described her.
“Lex didn’t live her life as a cancer patient,” one of her friends said. “Her hospital room was always a party. We were always looking for more chairs... Based on the company, the takeout food, the laughter – you’d never know that we were sitting in a hospital room.”
Lessons from Alexis, according to her friends, include:
• be happy and positive about life
• cherish your friends and family
• don’t sweat the small stuff
• enjoy the simple things in life
• eat lots of yummy food
• and, most of all, live life to the fullest.
Anyone still contemplating New Year’s resolutions may find them right here.