Just keep on stepping!!

Dear friend,
My name is Janette Hurley and in my 50th year of existence on this planet, I have decided to give back to the universe some of the energy that was gifted to me on behalf of my sister Marilyn Ann Hurley.
My sister, Marilyn, is indeed my hero…she passed on to a higher plane five years ago at age 41…the agent of her passing was Lupus. Lupus is a form of Arthritis.

To celebrate the life and spirit of Marilyn, I am walking the Hawaii Marathon with the Joints in Motion (JIM) team, as a fund raiser for the Arthritis Society. I would like you to celebrate with me the indomitable spirit of Marilyn Ann by donating to the Arthritis Foundation in her memory. I intend to walk the marathon as a celebration. …Completing that which my sister could not do.

Marilyn was born in Grenada on August 29th, 1956. She was a rebel in every sense of the word. She was one of the first “revolutionaries” that I knew, leaving at the end of her 1st year at Mt St Vincent University in Halifax to return to Grenada to “fight my revolution” (It was the year of the “peaceful revolution” led by Maurice Bishop in Grenada and she went to join her comrades.). However, she returned to Halifax in September at Age 22 with joints that would not respond to her command.

She spent most of the fall on the ward at the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax whilst the diagnosis of Lupus was made. She humored my classmates in Second Year Medicine…. allowing us to perform our clinical maneuvers on her (of course there were some medical students she did not let near her!!). She lived with Lupus for 20 years completing her first degree in the first graduating class of Public Relations at Mt St Vincent University. Her Masters in Mass Communications was done in Washington D.C at Howard University. She taught briefly at Howard and then was accepted into the PhD Programme at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

 It was here that the joy of her life, Danyelle Adia (Adia means gift from God) was born. Danyelle’s birth certainly entertained more of the ravages of Lupus but Marilyn celebrated living every moment of her life with our precious Danyelle, providing her with a solid childhood foundation, filled with love, curiosity and excitement for life. I suppose as a result of  her Mother’s many health challenges Danyelle learned an early lesson in compassion for others. Marilyn had finished her dissertation whilst teaching at Fisk University, Nashville and Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. She was in the process of defending her dissertation when she was called home. Paul and I were married in Grenada. Our wedding was a celebration of family but Marilyn never made it. She passed two weeks after our wedding on January 11th, 1998 on the birthday of our mother, Marjorie Turton – Hurley.

My walk celebrates Marilyn’s life, her 3 Hip replacements and numerous ICU and hospital stays and Danyelle’s birth. Whenever there was an obstacle in life before us, Marilyn would say: “Just keep on stepping!!” This motto has resonated within our entire family. It will inspire me to complete my walk and empowers me to continue the fight against arthritis. I also walk to honour my Grandmother, Edna Wilson who died in Grenada from arthritis. My cousin, Margaret Faria who died July 24th 2002 at the age of 52 in Trinidad from Rheumatoid Arthritis and my sister Hazel Hurley – Bierzynski who lives every day with Lupus.
For these powerful family members of mine…. I’ll walk the Marathon…