Day 294. The Bon Jovi One.

Debbie. Bon Jovi. Those two things are all I need to say to those who know Debbie. There's a whole lotta meaning there.

I was truly blessed to meet this woman years ago when I was still looking to find my way in a new city (after moving back to Columbus). So much of my love for Debbie is found in the little moments, that would take pages and pages to explain - and those are things I'm not sure I want to share (eating chocolate dessert in a dorm room in Dallas comes to mind). But, I can tell you that Debbie and I have had momentous moments too - I credit her with being one of the main reasons I was able to successfully chair Races for the Cure; she and I had an amazing 3-day, 60 mile walk together for breast cancer, and a weekend in San Fran with our friend H that will go down in my personal memory as a top 10 experience (the icicles remain dedicated to you two).

But in all that, the essence of Debbie remains and that is why I cherish her. She lost her mom to breast cancer at far too young an age and Debbie is the model I look to for how to manage that emotion, that experience and that loss and how to support those who face the same challenges. Debbie taught me how to turn all that into meaning. She is the model of what I aspire to be, of how to be a true friend, how to share yourself, and how to drive your life in the direction YOU want it to go.

Debbie moved away a few years ago - and, I am sadly grateful to lose her attention to her family - her husband and new little one who she loves so very much. No matter where she is, Debbie is someone I carry with me every day. I hope for those who know her that they understand what a gift she is in their lives.

Are you still wondering why this started with Bon Jovi? Well its Debbie's favorite group - and there are many stories (a lot more of which I probably don't even know) of how Bon Jovi was part of all those monumental moments of Debbie's life - including the time when she was losing her mom. It started as a "little factoid about Debbie" but, as I got to know my friend, when a Bon Jovi song would come on, I'd linger to listen instead of thinking of being in middle school and changing the channel, instead, I'd listen to the words. And to me, what I hear is messages of perseverance, principle, strength, love and celebration. And that is Debbie. And that is why I love her. And every single Bon Jovi song keeps Debbie close to me no matter where she lives (now move back to Ohio already, girl!)

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