About this iReport
  • Not verified by CNN

  • Click to view robjh1's profile
    Posted December 8, 2010 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Remembering Elizabeth Edwards

    More from robjh1

    Celebration Of Life: LaVerne Denise Harper


    All my best to Elizabeth Edwards' Family.


    A few months ago (September 7th to be exact) I posted a piece titled, "My Family Has Cancer” (http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-489682) which briefly described the pain and anguish my family was going through watching the life being stolen from my sister by cancer. While providing all the love and warmth we could, we the caregivers felt and were helpless to save her. The end game unfortunately was death.


    LaVerne, my sister, a sister, mother of two, daughter, aunt, friend and a fighter battled stage four lung cancer (non-smoker) for almost 9 years.  Most patients with onset stage four lung cancer die a week or month after being diagnosed. Her battle, however, ended on the morning of her 44th birthday, October 11, 2010.

    The night before she passed my family along with her friends had a birthday celebration with balloons, cake and candles.  We sang songs, laughed and reminisced about her life.  That morning around 7:55 a.m. quietly and peacefully she left us.


    Our hearts were heavy, but the day of her funeral family and friends, dressed in pink and white (her favorite colors) to celebrate her life on earth. During the Celebration of Life Service uplifting songs, poems and speeches were performed in her memory. A saxophonist played the song "Gone Too Soon" by Michael Jackson and a choir performed "You are My Sunshine" by Maze and Franky Beverly and “Going Up Yonder” by Tramaine Hawkins.


    The committal service, was equally celebratory with a saxophonist playing “To God Be the Glory”.  Her two young daughters and niece performed "I don't feel no ways tired" by Mary Mary.  A soloist performed “We Shall Behold Him.”


    It was a beautiful day. The sun lit up a bright cloudless blue sky.  Before her body was committed, 44 pink and white balloons were released in the air in honor of her years on earth and freeing her spirit to the sky.


    While there is an emptiness in my families heart for our beloved LaVerne, we find comfort in the celebration of life service we had in her honor.


    Now we have learned that Aretha Franklin might have pancreatic cancer. All the research and money in the world makes no one immune to this deadly disease.


    But we can make a difference by learning more about cancer and treatment. My sister was fortunate in that she had a great team of doctors, family support and CARTI (Central Arkansas Rehabilitation Therapy Institute).


    To learn more about cancer or CARTI please visit:



    One day hopefully there will be a cure for cancer.

    Add your Story Add your Story