Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tribute to a true inspiration

I normally try to focus on all things related to childbirth education but I want to take a moment and honor my friend who was such an inspirational person, Candy Lakin. 

I first met Candy when we were teenagers and worked as camp counselors the summer of 74 in Cadillac, MI.  For some reason we decided we wanted an adventure at the end of the summer, recruited a third friend and the day after camp ended, loaded up our clunky ten speeds and headed off on a cross country bike ride!  And what an adventure it was - always heading into the wind, sleeping under picnic tables and fixing so many flat tires!  This was before bike helmets, cell phones and lightweight bikes with many gears.  Before we left I don't think any of us had biked more than 20 miles.  We planned our route day to day (2400 miles and 42 days later we made it to WA, Candy had left by train a little earlier to start school at Chico in CA.)   We often looked back and thought how did our parents ever let us go?  I really think they didn't "let us go", they just couldn't stop us!  What kept us going?  I think it was because so many didn't think it could be done. We loved sending one particular non-supporter a postcard from each state we crossed into.  Being three females, we were a rare site on the road and were often invited to stay in people's homes/yards. (better than the outhouse we slept in when a bear chased us)  Long distance biking was pretty unique then. 

Three years ago Candy developed ovarian cancer and fought an active battle against the invasion of those cancer cells into her body.  She didn't let it stop her from her passions - canoeing, sailing, biking and doing so many projects to make it a better world.  Her husband and three sons gave her support and companionship to do whatever needed to be done...

I saw Candy last month when I was back in Cadillac - at that point she was no longer able to eat/digest  and she was taking every day as a gift.  But I swear she was more active than 99% of others in the world.  One of her sons had asked if there was anything that she hadn't gotten done that she would like help on in the final weeks.  It was during that time that the dream of an "every woman" sculpture was born.  Pictured is a first draft.  I look forward to seeing how it changes and comes to life. 

Candy died yesterday surrounded by family and friends.  Every single one of us will carry the Candy spirit - making the world a better place.  I know my friendship with her made me a better person!

1 comment:

  1. Misty6:02 PM

    I am so sorry for your loss of such a great friend. It sounds like she will be remembered by many.