Courageous Love: Eve Friedli
A year or 2 ago my daughter Emma asked me who was the most inspiring person I knew. Without hesitation I said, “Eve of course.”
I met Eve Friedli a little over 6 years ago at a lunch in Rochester MN. We got together because she was a person living with Multiple Myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells, and I was the representative for a drug that most Myeloma patients use in the course of their disease. Eve was in the process of starting a Myeloma support group for patients living with Multiple Myeloma and heard I could provide financial support for the meetings.
It’s so hard for me to remember the beginning of our friendship, because very quickly we morphed from acquaintances to close friends – which we both agreed is a very is rare and precious thing. Eve at that time was 40 – just a few years older than me. She was a mom of two, was working full time, and had just undergone a stem cell transplant for Myeloma.
Even though she was routinely poked and prodded, was on various medications and had bone pain, she still was determined to find the meaning in why she had cancer. Eve started the first Myeloma support group in Rochester MN and a charitable organization — the Multiple Myeloma Charitable Foundation — to raise money for research in hematologic diseases. She also started an annual walk for myeloma that raised thousands of dollars for research. Eve did all this with a sense of humor and plans for her future and her family. If she wasn’t feeling well, it rarely was the focus of our our conversations. We could be having lunch and she might say casually that her feet hurt, or she was tired, but she was genuinely interested in what was going on with me, my children, my marriage.
Her relationship with Roger, her husband, was an inspiration to me. They were each other’s soul mates and endured so much crap while they were married but still maintained their sense of humor and were a united front. She was an amazing mother and was very close to her daughter Sara and son Zach. Many of our conversations were about how I could have the kind of relationship she had with her kids when my girls became teenagers. Eve was my friend but to so many others she was inspirational. She comforted and then educated patients that had been newly diagnosed with Myeloma. She was a face of hope and truth at the support group. She showed others with cancer how you can live your life to the fullest. My dear friend passed away right before Thanksgiving last year. She had just undergone a third stem cell transplant to try and keep the myeloma at bay. It was grueling for her and after a few near death experiences she was doing a little better. She insisted on visiting her nephew for a weekend after he completed basic training for the army. She was excited to take this trip as she was having more energy. Roger said it was a wonderful weekend. The day after they returned she suffered a blood clot.
Eve’s motto was “NEVER GIVE UP.” She never did. All of us should see her life as a template of giving back.
Lifted up by: Jennifer Feinberg