The work of Wendy Ericsson, fierce champion of the FWC, lives on through her advocacy, and her family and friends who carry on her work. Wendy passed away in late July of 2020 to complications from recurrent ovarian cancer. Her friends, Linda Wiesinger and Brenda Bolster, and husband George Ericsson held a blanket drive for chemotherapy patients in Wendy’s memory this spring.
Wendy was introduced to the Foundation while attending a Gynecologic Cancer Education Course and learned about its signature event, the National Race to End Women’s Cancer. She became an advocate of FWC through fundraising, advocacy and grassroots mobilization. Her team, Wendy’s Warriors, raised over $125,000 to advance the Foundation’s mission-based programs. Since 2017, Wendy served in a volunteer leadership capacity as co-chair of the race for two consecutive years and chair for it in 2019. She was appointed as Patient Advocate for NRG Oncology and recipient of the FWC Karen J. Carlson Public Service Award, recognizing her contributions and service on behalf of FWC.
When Wendy was first diagnosed, George scaled back his work to care for her. Linda jumped in to raise funds for the couple’s growing bills with a one day over 62 mile bike trip through Lancaster County, PA. After Wendy’s death, Linda and Brenda wanted to continue to advocate for cancer patients in Wendy’s honor. Brenda is an independent consultant for Thirty One Gifts, which produces purses, totes and organizational and home items. Brenda chose blankets as a fundraising drive to keep chemotherapy patients warm during treatment. Donors purchased blankets through Thirty One Gifts that would be delivered to Asplundh Cancer Pavilion, Jefferson University Hospitals in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, where Wendy had received chemotherapy treatments.
On March 24, Linda donated 28 blankets with handwritten notecards to cancer patients treated at Aspludh on behalf of Wendy’s Warriors, along with gifts for infusion nurses to thank them for the essential work they do. The connection to Wendy’s Warriors was strong; two of the nurses, Tina Nolan and Stephanie Fisher were on hand to accept the donations had been Wendy’s infusion nurses.
“I have to admit, it was tough walking in there again without Wendy. It brought back a lot of memories. On the other hand, it was so nice to see two of the nurses that had cared for her”, said Linda.
George, Linda and Brenda know that Wendy would be happy with their work on her behalf. “She would be happy and want us to do this fifteen more times,” said Linda. “We could feel her smiling”. These 3 Warriors and the rest of Wendy’s Warriors team are already planning how they can support the FWC in the Move4Her event in 2021.