by Cindy Fenton, Fairfield CT

Let me take a minute to introduce you to someone I have had the pleasure of meeting recently. Her name is Catherine Rose from North Branford, Connecticut. This first picture goes back 10 or so years, showing her gentleness and love for animals.
Spin time forward a bit to her teenage years and still see the sparkle of innocence in her face. Disney World… all children’s dreams…Sadly our next look at Catherine Rose is several months after she finished her third round of chemotherapy. Just shy of her 17th birthday, she was diagnosed with inoperable Stage 4 brain cancer, March, 2012.This is the day I had the pleasure of meeting her at the end of May 2014. (and her cousin pictured) After my husband, myself and some friends decided to hold a support rally to encourage and help this young woman with her dream. To go to college this fall.

A Ride for the Rose was a motorcycle run that started in my hometown of Derby, and continued over 100 miles to the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory in Massachusetts, a place Catherine loved to visit. A long route to escort bikers, through traffic, lights, gas stops, coffee, mechnical problems, impending rain on a rather cool day at the end of May. Because of the weather we left with a smaller group of people than we had hoped, … but off we went on our trip, excited because when we got to Massachusetts, Catherine and her mom would be waiting there for us.Three plus hours later we were there, at this magical place. Open the doors and you feel the warmth of the tropics with magical beauty fluttering around you. And guess who caught a butterly on this special day? Can you tell by the grace in her hands?
Our small group of friends raised over $1,000 for Catherine Rose that day. We all had lunch together and had enough raffle prizes for everyone to win something.
We were humbled to have met her and amazed at her inner calm in meeting new people under circumstances where our paths might never have crossed. The thing that struck me the most from that day was her mom telling us…”Cancer is a lonely business…and to have strangers offer their hands to hold means more than you will ever know”.
Now a new chapter in her life, deciding treatment is done…Catherine started school TODAY.   Her mom Patty tells us that Catherine feels her future is not any more certain or uncertain that anyone else’s. So reach for your dreams and live every day as if it’s your last. Celebrate with us on this very special day! Congraulations Catherine Rose! We are all so proud of you!