“There is one thing with which I can bless you: May it be G‑d’s will that all the trees planted from your seeds should be like you . . .” –Talmud, Taanit 5b
My name is Arieh Esra and I am incredibly fortunate to be running the 2020 United Airlines NYC Half Marathon in New York City on 15 March 2020, in loving memory of my amazing late aunt, Annette Horwitz and in honour of my brilliant mother, Roeleen Esra.
My mother and aunt have walked nearly identical paths for their entire lives, studying the same degree, working together as partners in their incredibly successful law firm, and making sure their children understood the importance of family. Unfortunately, like so many other amazing and wonderful people, my mother and Annette were also both diagnosed with cancer.
On 29 January 2020, after enduring 7 long years of fighting stage 4 lung cancer, with the courage, grace, and tenacity which most people will be blessed never to understand, let alone be burdened to attempt to emulate, Annette departed this world to the rest and comfort she deserved. She is, and forever will be, missed by her husband Peter, children, granddaughter, her nieces, nephew, brother in law, family, friends and her adoring sister, as well as the South African legal fraternity.
While Annette was fortunate to have so many wonderful people to support her, she was always aware of those who were not in a similar position, and throughout her journey was a passionate, vocal and generous supporter of the DL Link, a charity dedicated to involving and educating communities in caring for ill people and their families, and truly embodying the ideals of compassion, kindness and caring for others inherent in life.
Annette was the speaker of honour at the inaugural DL Link corporate dinner, and was instrumental in facilitating the negotiation, transfer and realization of the DL Link Centre, giving of both her time and expertise in order to provide a space for the DL Link to fulfil its noble mission. In the jargon of the DL Link, Annette was a warrior. My mother, who is still in recovery from her own surgeries related to her illness, has picked up Annette’s mantle. After 5 surgeries in 7 months and enduring one of the hardest losses a person can bear, my mother continues to be a source of strength and comfort for all who know her.
Though the DL Link coordinates a delegation to run in the Jerusalem Marathon each year, I will be expanding the DL Link’s running footprint to America, and will be running with the names of Annette and my mother on my shirt, and in my heart. In order to perpetuate the memory of Annette, and honour my mother in her ongoing fight, I ask that you please consider donating to the DL Link to support them in the truly essential and inspiring work that they do, which you can learn more about here https://dllink.co.za/services/.
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