A year and a half ago I met Lorraine Kerz at the annual Lung Cancer Alliance conference for advocacy, held in Washington, DC. Soft spoken, pretty and petite, Lorraine moves with a slight tremor and my initial impression was of fragility. I couldn’t have been more mistaken.
Lorraine became an advocate after losing her son Silas to lung cancer in 2008. Silas was only twenty-nine years old. Diagnosed at stage IV with multiple bone metastases, Silas went through hell, and his mom was right there with him. A photographer and sometime journalist, Silas documented bits of his brutally brief yet poignant journey. Later, Lorraine edited this footage, creating a short documentary.
And she didn’t stop there. Lorraine was keenly aware of how Silas used his photography and story making skills as a meaningful coping mechanism, and she created Sy’s Fund as a way to “help young adults with cancer by funding their creative passions, pursuits, and hobbies as well as integrative therapies such as acupuncture, reflexology, and therapeutic massage.”
Lorraine Kerz is fierce, and one of finest people I know. Brave, determined, unstoppable; she has mined her deep well of grief for the greater good. Several days ago I received this email from Lorraine:
The video documentary, “The Man Behind Sy’s Fund” has been selected to be shown at the online global filmfest, “We Speak Here.” This is a huge honor & an amazing way to share Sy’s life and how he dealt with cancer as a young adult. Please click on the link below and take a few minutes to watch the video; we were actually number one most watched over the weekend! Pass along to others you feel may benefit or be interested in seeing the video as well. Thank you ~ Lorraine
Silas “Sy” River Bennett was determined to make a difference, and out of respect for the wishes of her beloved son, Lorraine has gone on to do just that. When an individual has cancer, the primary focus is on healing the body. If we are not careful, our sense of self can go missing, and young adults, most of whom have just begun to find their way in the world, are incredibly vulnerable. Sy’s Fund takes into account some simple things that can restore dignity and nurture spirit, recognizing that emotional and physical strength go hand in hand.
Hat’s off to you Lorraine, and congratulations on this well deserved honor. You have used your hard earned experience to bring awareness to young adults with cancer; a population that only grows in numbers. Hopefully this recognition will drive financial support the way of Sy’s Fund: I know you’d like nothing better than to have the opportunity to grant each and every request that comes your way.