Acceptance Speech from Shaun Sharp, recipient of COPE Sibling Recognition Award at COPE Golf Outing May 21, 2018
Fran was a loving mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt and friend. She will forever be missed by all who had the privilege to know her. Fran’s bright smile lit up every room she entered as well as the lives of all whom she touched. She is remembered as a compassionate, independent, confident and smart woman who had an incredible passion for life. I am grateful for being a part of the special gift that was her life for 31 years.
It was pouring rain that evening, I got caught in traffic during my long commute home so I arrived a little late. Sharing is not something I care much for. So imagine my angst when I was the only one there that evening. Where am I and what am I doing? The shock had worn off but the why that forms in our hearts and all but bursts from our lips was and remains unanswered. My brother was going to group, my parents were going to group so I figured why not me. So many things we were now doing that we weren’t before that tragic Friday the 13th nine years ago this coming November. Now that night may not have worked out and I didn’t return the next month but eventually I found my way back for what were years and dozens of sessions to come. While it was so sad to see new members both come and go, I’d like to thank them all for the courage to show up. And to Tracey and Amy, thank you for your care and guidance.
Toward the end of 2011, I met Ann and Amy up in Westchester to be interviewed for a Big Buddy spot for the inaugural year of Camp Erin NYC to be held at the end of August 2012. I had two little girls at the time. Fran had left behind two tiny little boys. So, I thought it was the least I could do. It just made sense. I put my name in the hat for the 6-9 year old little boys. I have now shared a bunk with these incredible young beings for six years in a row and look forward to Camp again this summer. I am wowed every time at the laughing, crying and sharing of these boys. I am no longer surprised, however, by the misbehaving. This weekend each and every year is physically and emotionally exhausting, and I’m not talking about the kids. Sleeping on those mini twin beds in the bunk in 40 degrees probably doesn’t do much in the way of helping but I still come back for more.
At the end of last season, Ann asked why. She sent an email to all of the bunk buddies, saying the following: “If you would, and is applicable, please write in one sentence – – why you chose to return to Camp Erin NYC or how the experience has impacted or changed you.” I didn’t answer that email but will give it a go now.
There is a lot in common with Group. I get to be a part of someone else’s healing journey; while there is no end it feels good to move it forward both for myself, a sibling or a child. Press pause. For two hours or 48 I get to focus on one thing only. Be amazed. At the outpouring of love, support and commitment of so many. Pay my respects. Be there for someone else. And have fun.
I am not the only Camp Erin volunteer and am not the only Camp Erin volunteer in this room. I don’t deserve this recognition any more than they do. This is not why I do it, this is not something I ever expected to be acknowledged for. I was in disbelief when I received the email from Lilly and am grateful for the recognition. So thank you and I’d also like thank all present, past and future Camp Erin volunteers, Cope bowlers, walkers and golfers.
Today was a special day. Thank you to my friends and family for being here to share it. And thank you to everyone that donated to my daughter Cailey’s fundraising campaign. I’m proud of her for supporting Camp Erin and kids just like her cousins for her mitzvah project.