Sunday, April 1, 2012

In Memory of Rachel

Rachel Cheetham Moro (1970-2012)
“When I first started my blog in 2009, I had no idea just how important it would become in helping me deal with this disease. What has surprised me even more is just how many people are interested in what I have to say." - blogger Rachel Moro

I have heard people call the act of blogging a way to share your unedited self with the world.  "A blog is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. A political soapbox. A breaking-news outlet. A collection of links. Your own private thoughts. Memos to the world." (

For me, Channeling Jackie-O was initially a way to share information about my rare cancer with my family and friends in California, but eventually it became much more - a way for me to connect with other cancer patients and advocates. I am incredibly grateful for the amazing online community support that my blog has provided me, and for the new friends I've made through my writing.

One of my blogger-friends, Rachel, recently died from stage IV breast cancer. And I miss her.

I miss her comments to my posts, and reading her incredible words - her "unedited self" - that she was able to share so eloquently with the world.

On December 31st Rachel posted a comment to my blog about the Laurita Winery: "Definitely going to have to check this place out! - Rachel" After reading her comment, I had thoughts of us finally meeting face to face - two Jersey girls, swapping encouragement and stories over a bottle of Chardonnay.

Rachel died Monday, February 6th, and there is an aching sadness that I will never have the opportunity to meet her in person; she was only 42 years old.

Rachel was brave and talented, and like all great writers, she was a keen observer of life. As a young women twice diagnosed with breast cancer, Rachel was unabashedly critical of the "pink pop-culture" movement. Through her blog, The Cancer Culture Chronicles, she challenged her readers to move beyond pretty pink ribbons and balloons, and take a long hard look at the ugly truth about metastatic breast cancer, which has somehow gotten buried underneath mountains of pink glitter.

Rachel was an intellectual powerhouse at crunching numbers and calling out the foremost cancer organizations for not doing more (especially Susan G Komen Foundation - see Rachel's post "Komen by the Numbers"). But what I loved most about reading Rachel's blog was her dark humor about the daily absurdities of living in "cancer world" as a permanent resident - rather than as a tourist merely passing through during a charitable bike race or 10k run.

If you like my blog, you'll love Rachel's; below is an excerpt from one of her posts "Pink Proxy". My heart goes out to her beloved husband Anthony, to her friends and family, and to her extended "blogosphere family" - whom she touched through her honesty, wit, spirit, and unique outlook on life.

I've never been very good at goodbyes, so I'll let Shakespeare do it for me: "Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet [friend], and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest." (Hamlet)

"Indeed, the writing does send out tentacles that demand to be heard and invariably evoke a response and hopefully a call to action of some kind. We must keep writing to keep being heard. It is imperative" - Rachel

From "Pink Proxy" - Cancer Culture Chronicles, Nov. 7,  2011
by Rachel May Cheetham Moro (

"...Then the news. You have a pneumothorax (partial collapsed lung) and we're taking you down to the emergency room now. Great. Here we go again. Cue the waterworks.

Pull up to emergency room desk. Me in my wheelchair sobbing. Radiology nurse clucking attentively. Emergency room desk receptionist dressed in bright pink breast cancer awareness sweatshirt and pink ribbon lanyard. Rather than taking pity on me, as I would have expected from someone who was so aware of breast cancer, and on the last day of Pinktober no less, the bitch (it's the only fitting descriptor) couldn't have cared less, and rudely waved us on to the next receptionist.

It was at this point that I stopped crying, and almost burst out laughing at the irony of the scene.  Has the color pink simply become a proxy for giving a shit? Wasn't I the point of her stupid sweatshirt? Wasn't I entitled to some special pink treatment during my special pink month? What's the point of having breast cancer if you can't jump the ER queue at least because someone's AWARE of you? Perhaps it was my fault. Maybe my chart wasn't clear enough. More the fool me for forgetting to wear my pink feather boa, bedazzled pink fedora, and Fight Like A Girl t-shirt.  End facetiousness..."

Some of My Favorite Posts by Rachel

Pink Fall (9/19/09)


  1. This is beautiful. Simply beautiful....I miss Rachel, too. So many of us miss her. I was reading her blog, from the beginning......and that's how I found myself here. It's a chemobrain internet sidestep.

  2. Hit enter too quickly... wanted to finish that thought with.... the sidesteps that bring me to new people and I'm glad I found your blog......