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.
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.