In the summer of 2005, at age 50, Caryn was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer called adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC). Many people would have given up on day one of this unlikely and unseemly prognosis. But Caryn did not let the fact that ACC has no known cure stop her. For three years, she battled ACC with an integrated medicine approach, including aggressive chemotherapy treatments, medications, natural supplements, and rigid dietary restrictions. Meanwhile, Caryn went on living life in her characteristic way, selflessly and to the fullest. She spent time with family and friends, and was always thinking of others' needs and wants first, even when she herself had to struggle to perform regular daily functions. Caryn's number one priority was making sure that those she cared about did not worry about her.
When she was hospitalized for the last time in the summer of 2008, the partners from the accounting firm where she worked came to visit, filling the room. She proudly introduced each and every one of them to her friends and family, and proceeded to talk about business matters pertinent to the partners' meeting she had missed the week before. Her impeccable work ethic and selfless nature truly endured to the end.
After months of intense pain that she never once complained about, and an unforgettable day of quality time with those she loved, Caryn passed away peacefully and pain-free in her sleep on July 16, 2008. She asked that at her funeral a special poem be read, a poem that emphasized the importance she placed on friends and family, and that was meant to comfort mourners in her absence. The poem contained a unique request - that Caryn be buried with a fork in her right hand - because when enjoying a course of a nice meal, the best is always yet to come.
And Caryn believed that better things were coming, not just for herself, or just for her friends and family, but also for her fellow ACC patients. Caryn has requested that all donations in her memory be directed to ACC research at TGen, a cause that she truly believed in. Please take some time today to do two things: 1) Donate to the Caryn Schatz Memorial Fund at TGen - help us find a cure so that others will not have to suffer like Caryn did - we know she would only want the best for everyone else; and 2) Try to be just a little bit more generous with your time, resources, and compassion - we can never fill the void that Caryn's death has created, but we can honor her memory by trying to live more selflessly, every day.
If you would like to make a donation to Caryn's memorial in support of adrenocortical carcinoma research, please click here.