Thank you to all who have donated to Juneau cancer patient Carmen Cortese and her partner Janet Forbes, and to all who attended their benefit on May 26. Special thanks to Pastor Cindy Roberts, Claudette Curtis, Sandy Hicks and the congregation of Douglas United Methodist Church. They provided a special place for Carmen to receive hugs and support. Church cooks generously shared their delicious dishes at our reception and cleaned up during Carmen’s Healing Ceremony. Thanks to other churches in Juneau who posted the benefit in their bulletins. Juneau creates a large circle joining hands in love and support.
Deep thanks to accompanists Laurell Clough and Jacque Farnsworth and to the singers: Arianna Orford with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” The Juneau Pride Chorus with “The Climb,” Steve Hamilton on piano with “Amazing Grace,” Margaret Vrolyk’s “Never Walk Alone,” Katrina Lee’s “Candle on the Water,” Rachel and Sage Zahnd’s “Put on a Happy Face.” Your songs give strength. Thank you to the Talley brothers, videographers Matt and Chris for making a DVD that Carmen can enjoy as she continues her chemo and radiation cancer treatment in Seattle. Thanks to John Moses and Melissa Griffiths at the Juneau Empire – you helped get the word out. Shelby Allen and Hugo Rodriquez, we appreciate you setting up the Wells Fargo “Carmen Cortese Donation Account” allowing online and nationwide donations. Thanks to Marsha, Paula, Kathee, DUMC volunteers and everyone who brought food to share. Marsha, Willie, Jenn and Mel, thanks for being greeters and last minute helpers. Bravo to all donating miles so that on her days off Janet can fly to Seattle to care for Carmen.
Thanks to other Team Carmen members collaborating and researching how to change the unfair policies that violate our constitutional rights and led to Janet being denied Alaska Family Medical Leave.
Our benefit closed with all joining hands for a circle chant. We can widen the circle now with your love and support. We need your help on this constitutional equal protection issue. Contact President Obama, Sens. Murkowski and Begich, and Rep. Young on S-846/HR-1751 to extend FMLA to include LGBT families now. Let your local Alaska legislators know we are ready for equality in our state. Donate to the Carmen Cortese Donation Account at Wells Fargo or donate air miles to Janet by calling 957-7896.
Thank you, generous ones, in Juneau and beyond.
Maureen Longworth, MD, and Lin Davis