Please scroll down to read all the stories of our amazing & inspiring recipients
Amy with her husband and two daughters - August 2014
Amy was raised by her parents Gary and Carol Zimmerman with her two younger sisters, Kate and Ann, in Seekonk, MA. She graduated from Seekonk High School in 1995 and chose to attend Quinnipiac College to pursue a degree in Occupational Therapy. While in college, she met her husband Mike and they both graduated in 1999. Mike and Amy were married in 2002 and bought their first home in East Providence, RI. Amy worked for Woonsocket, Cranston and East Providence School Departments during her career as an Occupational Therapist.
In 2005 at age of 28, Amy was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and underwent chemo and radiation. In 2008, after two years of clear scans the doctors felt that Amy and Mike could now be comfortable having children. Not knowing if having children would be possible, they started the process of adopting their first child, Maria. She was a former student of Amy’s in Woonsocket and was five years old at the time. As fate would have it, Amy became pregnant at the same time. Maria moved in August of 2008 and Paige was born on New Year’s Eve of the same year. Amy instantly had the family she always wanted.
After living in East Providence for ten years, Amy and Mike built a home and moved to Seekonk in 2010. In 2011, Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer. She chose to have a double mastectomy which was followed by chemo and radiation. During a routine hysterectomy a few months later, the doctors found that the cancer was now stage 4 and had spread to her liver. Amy chose to be treated at Dana Farber where she had been treated for Hodgkin’s Disease. Over the next two years she would try many different chemotherapies and clinical trials.
In the last year, the cancer spread to her spine, bone, and lung. During the summer of 2014, she suffered a seizure while sitting at home with her husband. The cancer had spread to her brain. She underwent full brain radiation which was effective to prevent further seizures, however, the cancer in her liver continued to spread. Amy passed away peacefully at the Philip Hulitar Hospice Center in Providence.
Amy was a loving wife, mother, sister, aunt, and friend who lived her life helping and inspiring others without ever expecting anything back in return. She may have been small in stature, but she had a huge reach. During her battle she always put on a brave face and never complained. She continued to be the mother she always wanted to be, and her daughters kept her going. She had an amazing strength and will to live.
Amy lost her almost decade long battle with cancer on January 15, 2015.
I am a wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt and friend. I am also a full-time patient because in mid June of this year I was diagnosed with Metastatic Breast Cancer, breast cancer that has traveled past the breast and considered to be Stage IV. Previous to my diagnosis, I was a full-time Special Education Teacher. Now, it’s been almost five months of this new full-time job, a job I didn’t apply for nor feel equipped to handle. Although I would consider my first diagnosis of Stage 2 Breast Cancer in January 2012 my boot camp, it certainly didn’t prepare me for this war. But, each and every day I fight because being a wife and mother of two children, ages 8 and 11, motivates me to carry on.
Although I am the Big C patient, I am blessed to have so many family members, friends, acquaintances and even strangers supporting me. I am not doing this alone, I'm not allowed to because the army behind me doesn’t let me. I am supported, encouraged and loved beyond words on a daily basis. I am grateful. They drive me to appointments, lift me when I'm down, and laugh and cry with me. Visit the Leap for Linda page on Facebook to witness the love firsthand.
When faced with a diagnosis like mine, it seems to make the most sense to embrace the moment and face the days one at a time. I’m trying my best to do just that. I'm living life to its fullest each and every day, facing this head on and doing all that is possible to be a part of this Earth for as long as I can.
If you’re interested in learning more about my journey and following my progress, you can find my blog at www.abetterdream.com.
Linda lost her battle on July 4th, 2017 but her spirit, kindness and love is being remembered and honored by the betterdreamfoundation.org. It is a non-profit organization that awards scholarships to area High School Seniors to further their education and training; educate and spread awareness for Metastatic Breast Cancer and make financial contributions towards MBC research.
Lisa was an amazing wife and mother who unfortunately lost her battle to cancer on December 5th, 2015. She will always be loved and rememebered by her family and friends, especially her husband Carmine and their two children, Jessica and David.
Erica Shea of Warwick, was a 32 year old wife, mother, daughter, and sister who was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer in December 2014 when she was 13 weeks pregnant. She endured many obstacles during pregnancy, as the doctors did not believe she would be able to carry a pregnancy. Despite what doctors said and her strong will, she went through with the pregnancy. After many treatments of chemotherapy and different medications, her body was getting weaker and weaker. Erica ended up bed-ridden in Women & Infant's since March 29th. By 34 weeks pregnant and with much concern, they had no choice but to deliver the baby six weeks early. Erica beat the odds and delivered a beautiful 5lb 6oz baby girl named Ella on April 29th, 2015. Although the delivery was a success, her health was not improving. After much discussion with the medical team and her family, Erica made the decision to accept hospice services at Women and Infant's Hospital. Erica's story is one of incredible faith, hope, courage and love as she fought a courageous battle with breast cancer to give birth to her "miracle" baby Ella. She touched many lives in her short 32 years with always a beautiful smile and gracious uplifting words for anybody she would meet. Her entire life is an incredible testament of the love of Jesus. She is loved and missed by her family and friends.
Erica Shea unfortunately lost her battle with cancer in June 2015. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her husband, Josh, and their two children, Cade and her "miracle" Ella.