CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - With this job I get to hear really good and really bad news all day long. I still "feel" much of it (and hope I always do) but it doesn't always come as a "surprise".
The death of Mary Ann Wasil came as a surprise.
Mary Ann was one of those breast cancer fighters who even in the depths of a fight -- sometimes bald, sometimes too sick to travel, sometimes too ill to want to talk about it -- always made things flow and happen anyway. She wrote a book. She started a national non-profit. She mentored others.
I first met Mary Ann at Charlotte's BCC Rally luncheon in 2011. We were both guest speakers.
She was amazing.
She'd just flown in from her home in Connecticut. She was fighting, again, on treatments and drugs but instead of talking about herself... she stood there and told us why we needed to teach young girls about breast self-exams. She said kids know more about their bodies than we think they do, that we might as well educate them the right way.
Her words were powerful. Maybe because they weren't just words. Mary Ann had just kicked off a Foundation and partnering with school nurses to "educate young people". It's still going strong. (Find more at The Get In Touch Foundation or at www.getintouchfoundation.org)
After that luncheon, Mary Ann and I stayed in sporadic touch.
In 2012 she contacted me out-of-the-blue, asking if she could honor my mom and me at her inaugural "Pretty in Pink" Awards in Charlotte as two "Women of Strength".
I remember laughing at her over the phone. The irony.
How could SHE -- one of the most impressive and strong women around -- give away a title of "Women of Strength"??
One of Mary Ann's Charlotte friends wrote this weekend to let me know Mary Ann passed away. Her service is this coming weekend.
Before she's honored in a big way by people who really know and love her, I wanted to put out this post. A small little mention. Mostly for her kids. I want to let them know their mom touched WAY more people than they probably know. She touched me. She touched my mom. She moved many women in Charlotte to get up and get involved in trying to make a difference.
Please know many of us in the Carolinas are thinking of you.