In my last blog entry, Anna Basso’s Impact on Others, I told you about my sister’s 18 year old next door neighbor in Dallas, Anna Basso, who passed away in June from a year and a half battle with Ewing Sarcoma. My brother in law, Mark Hall, along with his ad agency, Firehouse, had set up a website to get 1 million prayers for Anna, www.1millionprayers.com .The key verse in the site was Romans 12:12, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” and they wanted people to pray for Anna every day at 12:12 pm.
The night before the funeral we went to Anna’s visitation. She wanted everyone to wear purple (her favorite color) and bright colors to her visitation and funeral. Her friends and family spoke about her life at the visitation. She had so many good friends. I was so impressed with their maturity and love for Anna. One thing they kept saying that night was what a “Rock Star” she was and how she loved music. In fact, Manchester Orchestra (Anna’s favorite band) had flown in from Atlanta to be with her family-they were at the visitation and later at her Aunt and Uncle’s that night to play to a small group of friends and family. That night the singer said he didn’t realize when he wrote “I feel your pain” five years ago that it would be for Anna. It was a very emotional night.
The funeral was the next day. Just like the night before, their church was packed. I was wearing my bracelet that has Pandora beads and Confidence Beads. My friend, Linda Waters, owns Confidence Beads and each bead has a word or phrase on it. I was playing with my beads and reading the words. The purple bead says “Rock Star” ! I couldn’t believe it. It was as if it were made for Anna!
Then, after the funeral, most people went to the reception hall. We followed Mark and Susan (my sister), with the close friends and family, not being sure if we should, but we wanted to stay by them. They were going to be with Anna’s family while they put Anna’s casket in the hearse. As they did this, the priest looked at his watch and said “It is 12:12!”.Then Randy pulled out his phone, and it was 12:12! This was not planned. I don’t think it was a coincidence.
Instead of flowers, the Bassos asked that any donations go to Anna’s good friend, Micaela White, who just had a bone marrow transplant for leukemia. I am just in awe of the type of people the Bassos are. I want to be like them. They have shown tremendous grace, faith and strength. They immediately went to help someone else. They are now keeping us all posted on Micaela’s needs and progress.
Micaela and Anna have been friends since they were young. You can read about the two of them in this article entitled “Kindred Spirits” posted by the Texas Catholic Youth. Micaela still needs blood products. Every day, in addition to platelets, she is given 1-3 units of blood.
The day after the funeral I went for a long run by myself trying to process everything. I’m still trying to process everything. I was wondering if I should write about Anna and tell others. I was hoping to see a butterfly along the way (Anna loved butterflies) or just see some kind of sign of what I should do, how I could help. Then it hit me! Design a tee shirt in memory of Anna, and have the proceeds go to help Micaela. Happy First has been giving to leukemia and lymphoma research; this is a way we can help someone directly in need affected by leukemia. I got back to my sister’s and she thought it was a great idea! She mentioned it to Carol (Anna’s mom) and Carol said Patrice (Anna’s older sister) had the same idea too. So now Patrice and I are working on a tee together! The tee is includes words from the band Modest Mouse‘s song “Float On” , featured in the video “Dear Anna” created by Anna’s high school friends. If you would like to order one, click on the picture to take you to the Happy First site to place your order. (ps-I am adding this note 8/1-we have had requests for a crew neck, it is now available-picture and info at Anna’s Float on Crew Neck tee)
Then I realized, I already have a cute organic a-line tee that is purple with butterflies on it! It was meant to be! So I have decided to donate the proceeds from this tee too to Micaela’s fund.
I am so happy to help in some way and I am so enjoying getting to know Patrice better. By the way, Patrice has a wonderful blog, it is www.patricesblog.com where she talks about Anna’s journey. I know this fundraising for Micaela won’t bring Anna back, but will help her memory live on and help us in our healing and also help her dear friend, Micaela. I haven’t met Micaela yet, but hope to some day.
Another weird so-called coincidence. When Anna was first diagnosed, my sister and I gave Anna, her mom, and Patrice Happy First necklaces with their favorite charms. In April, Carol said Micaela would really like one too. She wanted one of the charms to be the relic cross. I went to fill her order and realized I was out of the relic crosses. I had lost my own Happy First necklace with the relic cross about 6 months ago. The day I was working on Micaela’s necklace I just happened to find my missing necklace in my closet! Micaela was meant to have my cross! The weird thing is, after I sent her package, I found an extra cross in my stock. I think it is more special that Micaela has my cross and was meant to be.
I keep looking for silver linings and found one with a new friendship. I went to a business conference back in February-Tory Johnson’s Spark and Hustle, and saw Jo Khalifa, owner of MoJo Roast Coffee speak. After the conference we became friends through email and Facebook, talking back and forth, realizing we had lots in common. Then in one of her messages to me she mentioned that one of her daughters had Ewing Sarcoma 17 years ago when she was 8, and is now 25! I immediately called her on the phone and we had a long conversation. I feel like Anna brought us together.
So, I just had to share Anna’s impact on others. Her life may have been short but she and her family did (and still are doing) more for others than most people do in a long lifetime.