This week the June 2008 issue of Marie-Claire Magazine hit news stands with an article inside about my dear, late friend Stephanie. (“Losing Stephanie”, pg. 126) For those of you that know me, or read this blog, you’ll know that Stephanie was a remarkable woman who devoted much of her life to helping others. She created and ran a foundation for underserved NYC children that has come to the aid of over 100,000 in the last eight years. Her door was always open, she was kind, intelligent, and creative. She inspired and appeared in so many of my films, and left us all with several words to live by, my favorite, “Never postpone joy!”
So, it is unfortunate that Marie-Claire Magazine has chosen to focus on the sensational aspects of the disease (CJD): the madness, the swearing, the screaming, etc. without letting everyone know how wonderful Stephanie was as a person and mother before this unforgiving, uncontrollable disease took hold of her. At the end it changes the person to someone you don’t know. And apparently, the family is understandably upset about the portrayal of Stephanie, and their attempts to deal with her illness and death, and how they are trying to move on. They simply didn’t have a lot of time between the onset, proper diagnosis and death – we were all at wits end, and confused and desperate. We were losing someone we loved, someone who greatly inspired us. Those of us that knew her will understand that wasn’t the true Stephanie, and that it is the plight of the press to seek out the most “sellable” aspects of a story rather than capturing someone’s true spirit.
However, the information in the story regarding CJD is compelling and thought-provoking and worth knowing. I hope this article will bring this disease to the forefront and give the researchers who are working on treatment more resources that lead to a cure.
As for Stephanie – one journalist in Marie-Claire will not be able to dim her spirit or the innumerable acts of kindness and generosity she devoted her days to. She touched so many people who knew her when she was alive. And carry on her spirit now that she is gone.