Friday, August 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Rest in peace, Linda Belz

Port Richmond's Linda Belz, 30, lost her battle with ovarian cancer but not before rallying her community to become more aware of the disease.

Rest in peace, Linda Belz

Ovarian-cancer patient Linda Belz, shown here with her father, Bob Belz, was overwhelmed by the support she received . . . and the reality that her life was ending. (Yong Kim/Staff)
Ovarian-cancer patient Linda Belz, shown here with her father, Bob Belz, was overwhelmed by the support she received . . . and the reality that her life was ending. (Yong Kim/Staff)

My deepest condolences to the family and friends of Port Richmond's Linda Belz, 30, who died Friday, June 21, after a long battle with ovarian cancer. I had the honor of meeting Linda when she entered Vitas Hospice in Frankford Hospital, and I was so moved by her dying wish:

To raise enough money to pay for her funeral expenses, so that her struggling parents wouldn't have to.

Linda didn't have a worry for herself - only for those who she knew would be caused heartache by her passing. Her humility and kindness were extraordinary.

Her best friend, Jenn Szewczak, used the column I wrote about Linda to launch an online fundraising campaign to help make Linda's wish come true. The goal was $9,000 but donations quickly left that number in the dust. As of this writing, the total on the gofundme.com website is $13,898, raised by 352 people.

In addition, Linda's supporerts also held fundraising bake sales, Zumba classes, comedy nights, softball tourneys - you name the idea, these people used it to help show Linda that she was not alone as she fought her battle. The money left over from the campaigns will pay Linda's outstanding medical bills and other expenses incurred by those who cared for her in her final days.

Rest in peace, Linda. Your battle is over, but your lesson of concern and generosity will endure. And may those who loved you take comfort in the knowledge that you knew how deeply you were loved.

Ronnie Polaneczky Daily News Columnist
About this blog

When my phone rings here at the Daily News, nine times out of ten the caller begins the conversation with, “Yeah, so what happened was…”.

Because this is Philly, the caller doesn’t say, “My name is Bob” – or Mary – “and I wonder if I could have a moment of your time?” Philadelphians are too direct for that. They just say, “Yeah, so what happened was…”, and then tumble into a tale they think oughta be shared with a wider audience. I love getting these calls (even the ones where it becomes clear, after 30 seconds, where the caller sowed the seeds of his own misery), because they give me chance to connect with fellow citizens in a way that no other job allows. Well, okay, no other job for which I’m remotely qualified.

That’s why my blog is titled “So What Happened Was…”. To me, it’s the quintessentially Philly way of saying, “Once upon a time.” When I hear it, I know a good story is coming. And I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Ronnie Polaneczky has been an award-winning columnist for The Philadelphia Daily News since 1999, offering a front-steps perspective on every aspect of city life, from the sublime to the stupid. In her past life, she was the editor-in-chief of Atlantic City Magazine, associate editor at Philadelphia Magazine and a fulltime freelancer published in Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Reader's Digest, Men's Health, MarieClaire and others. She lives with her husband, daughter and various pets in the city's Fairmount section, where she dreams of one day singing The National Anthem at an Eagles game. In addition to her column and blog, you can enjoy Ronnie's musings in podcast form here.


Read more from Ronnie Polaneczky at Earth to Philly, the Daily News blog on anything and everything "Green Reach Ronnie at polaner@phillynews.com.

Ronnie Polaneczky Daily News Columnist
Also on Philly.com
Stay Connected