Elizabeth Edwards was diagnosed with breast cancer Nov. 3, 2004, and on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010, she died of metastatic breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer spreads from the breast to other areas of the body and can be very complex to treat. The cancer stopped responding to treatment, bringing the 6-year battle to an end. She passed away in her Chapel Hill home in North Carolina at 10:15 a.m..
On Monday, the Edwards family released a statement about the condition of Elizabeth’s health. Her doctor had advised her to stop treatment ,as her fight against cancer had become futile and there was nothing else that could be done.
According to MSNBC, Edwards had her whole family by her side in her final hours, including her estranged husband, embattled politician John Edwards. She posted a message on Facebook that was of renunciation and fulfillment. She sounded content with the life she lived.
In the post, she stated “I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful.”
Elizabeth Edwards was a warrior who fought for a better healthcare system. There was greater meaning in this for her because of her own struggle with disease. She was not a stranger to the issues that the gravely ill face, and she was able to empathize with those fighting for their own survival. Her illness gave her a unique insight into the needs of other patients and everyday citizens struggling with cancer without the voice and a political stage from which to express their needs.
Edwards was their voice and she became their warrior for reform. In Elizabeth, they found someone who would go to Washington and fight for their causes. She was the soldier who went to war against the enemy called cancer that continues to claim countless victims at random. She was an ally and a friend. But most of all, she could relate. She knew what they were going through. She was the one person who could actually say the words “I understand” with greater meaning than ever before.
Elizabeth was planning to file for a divorce from he husband John after his much-publicized affair, resulting in the birth of a child outside of the marriage. She was awaiting the mandatory one-year separation in her state of residence, North Carolina.
President Obama has contacted the family to offer his condolences and later said “Many others in the face of such adversity would have given up. But through all that she endured, Elizabeth revealed a kind of fortitude and grace that will long remain a source of inspiration.”
Sympathy for the family has been pouring out from all over the political world. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also released a statement in which she called Elizabeth Edwards a “constant guardian and wise counselor.” Vice President Joe Biden called her “inspirational.” The chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, Dr. Otis W. Brawley, shared the impact that Elizabeth had on other patients and those in the health care profession.
The family would like supporters to make donations to Elizabeth’s charity; the Wade Edwards Foundation. The foundation is named for her son, who was killed in a car accident in April of 1996. All funds collected will benefit The Wade Edwards Learning Lab.
Mike Baker and Nedra Pickler, “Elizabeth Edwards dies at 61” beaumontenterprise.com
Today Staff and Wire, “Elizabeth Edwards dies of cancer at 61” today.msnbc.msn.com