My brother Joel was always my big bro. He was tall, gentle and had a great sense of humor. Joel loved trains, family, and life in general. When he called to tell me that his physician suspected a brain tumor – I had a feeling that was the beginning of the end. I looked at my husband and said as much.
After a visit to mass General Hospital Joel was scheduled for a biopsy which revealed a glioblastoma. As with most of you we learned more about that tumor than we ever wanted to know. Joel kept going, he was sure that he was going to beat it. He bought a house in Florida and planned to spend the cold winters in the warmth with his wife Phyllis. Joel had one glorious winter in his getaway and then the tumor took over.
We were ‘luckier’ than most, if that is the right choice of words, we actually got to talk about death, dying, and the process. Joel was surrounded by the family he loved as the end came. His Rabbi was reading his favorite psalm, and the chef at the hospice had baked a beautiful challah – the aroma filled the room.
My brother was, in his words, an Educator. He felt that a teacher simply had the students repeat information without really understanding what they were learning. An educator wanted the students to feel the information. At the beginning of the school year he would put 3 words on the blackboard; Courtesy, Caring, and Consideration! These were the words my brother lived by. I will miss him forever!
Each year since Joel passed away our family has participated in the Sharing Hope walk at the U Conn Alumni Association on the UConn Storrs campus. This year the walk will be held on June 26th and once again our family will participate in the hopes that the money raised will help those affected today and those who will be affected tomorrow by brain tumors. All proceeds will benefit the research programs of the American Brain Tumor Association.
- Betsey Garfinkel
To raise money for
All proceeds will benefit research programs of the American Brain Tumor Association.
The American Brain Tumor Association is a not-for-profit, independent organization. Not affiliated with any one institution,
Founded in 1973 out of a desperate need, the American Brain Tumor Association exists to eliminate brain tumors through research and to meet the needs of brain tumor patients and their families.