I thought about linking my original blog! The blog I started over 8 years ago, but I don’t know how much I want to share that part of my life with you all. I didn’t even realize it was still up and I think I might actually take it down.The reason I went to the old blog was I was looking for some posts I wrote about my Aunt Jacki. She is the reason I started blogging in the first place. It was to track my progress training for the Susan G. Komen 3 day. The 3 day is an event where each walker raises over $3000 and walks 60 miles in 3 days. Today is Jacki’s birthday and she would have been 55 today. She died 14 years ago in September. She was the first person I saw daily to die. She was 40 and I was 15.This is a modified version of my post 8 years ago.My Aunt Jacki. was my mom’s baby sister. I had a really close relationship with her the entire time I was growing up. She lived with us up until she got married the summer before I went to Kindergarten. That summer she built a house 10 minutes from ours and from then on we saw her multiple times a week. My mom was more like her mother than her sister. My mom was in her early 20’s when her mom died of Breast Cancer and she moved back home to take care of Jacki when she was 15. Jacki was always around and it was great. In those years before she had the girls she would always load us kids in her little red Z and take us to Zern’s on Saturday mornings. She would let us buy Penny candy every single time. Then before the Spring and Summer Seasons while at Zern’s she would always buy me as many pairs of Jellies as I wanted. I could get any color of those plastic, sweaty, blister making, rock catching shoes that I wanted and boy did I love those shoes. She was always very understanding when she and my brother would wait while I had to stop and pick rocks out of the bottom of my shoes, because it was way more important to be fashionable than comfortable. (I wish my mom could have been as understanding, but that is why she was the mom and my aunt was the fun one). When I was 8 she had her first baby and her first bout of Breast Cancer. She was pregnant when she found a lump in her breast and after Alexandra was born she went through Chemotherapy. By the time Alexandra was a year she was in remission. About two years later she had another baby. A second daughter, but she was still born. She was a full term baby and they named her Angelica Christine (No one ever really knew how she died). I will never forget the day that baby died. I was in 5th grade and I can still remember it like it was yesterday, it was the day before my little brother Jeff’s 10th birthday and the day we planned to have her baby shower. I remember the devastation she went through. It is nothing anyone should ever have to experience. Then two years after Angelica she had a third daughter. It was one of the happiest times in her life when Adriana was born on April 1, 1994. She was still in remission & around the time Adriana celebrated her first birthday Jacki found out she was sick again. You would have never known she was sick unless she told you. She went through Chemo and Radiation this time all while she worked full time raising two girls and still doing everything else mom’s everywhere do. She was dealing with the cancer for about a year when they decided to do a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction. This was in August of 1996. She was in the hospital a few days and came home to my house to recover. My mom took care of her day and night after her surgery. She was home two weeks and was getting sicker, so they took her back to the University of Penn. They told her the cancer had spread to her lungs and liver and she had less than a week to live. She lived only a few more days before she passed away. She was 40 years old and lived everyday like it was her last. She never complained and was the most wonderful woman you could have ever met. The day she died was the most shocking and heartbreaking thing I have ever experienced. I was 15 almost 16 that September.So Happy Birthday to the best second Mom anyone could ask for. She still is a big part of my life. Whenever I see a red car or eat a piece of penny candy I think of her. I think of her when I go to the mall or visit her girls. I am thankful that I got 15 years with her. 15 great years surrounded by love and inspiration. I know how much my mom and family miss her. She is still a part of our conversations when we are together. My sister named her first daughter after her. She is the reason that we celebrate birthdays like they are the most spectacular day of the year. Birthdays were so important to her and she always made a big deal out of your big day. She is the reason my mom will walk 60 miles this weekend in Dallas. 60 miles. 14 months after her own double mastectomy.