How can I express the loss of one so special as Ester Settle? I could tell how she loved her family with a passion. How she felt that she had experienced things in her life that so many of us have never experienced (or hope to) like traveling from coast to coast seeing the beautiful and not so beautiful places in our country. How she had the desire to babysit our great-grandchildren for more than a couple of hours but her declining health prevented her from having the energy to keep up with little Hunter, Bradley or Elijah for long periods of time. How she and our great-granddaughter Katerina, who is 9, had special shopping days together, especially before school and at Christmas.
Ester was diagnosed with cancer in 1990. In the late 1990s she and a group of people from Rappahannock County who were dedicated to helping find a cure for cancer participated in the Fauquier County Relay for Life. In 1999 Ester was instrumental in organizing the first Relay for Life event in our own Rappahannock County. What an exciting event it was! The weather was beautiful ( it rained for the next three years on the event day) and after months of hard work by a very dedicated committee, several team captains along with team members, the idea that our small community could raise thousands of dollars in association with the American Cancer Society was one of Ester’s dreams come true. For several years Ester and Ben Atkins chaired the event.
There are cancer patients in Rappahannock who can testify to the fact that the Relay for Life sponsored by the American Cancer Society has been a lifeline for them. Ester reached out to people diagnosed with cancer even while undergoing treatments herself over the years. Her letter to the editor last year stated, “I will be supporting Relay For Life on May 9, 2009.”
Friends, isn’t it ironic that this dear lady passed away on the very week of our 2010 Relay for Life? The Relay is this weekend, May 15 and 16. What better way to honor Ester’s memory than to come out and support her passion in seeking a cure for cancer. As a community let’s strive to carry on the legacy that this lady worked so hard to pass on to all of us, including our children and grandchildren.
Ester, thank you for all you have given to this community in your personal fight against cancer. To her children, your mom was an inspiration to all who love life, give hope and care for those in need. May God wrap you in His arms and comfort you always.