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Glancer Magazine


by Kristen Kucharski


Jingle Bells Jingle Bells jingle all the way….oh what fun………………….

I heard this song around Thanksgiving, just after hearing the news of Jo Ann Mirabelli’s passing. I had a tear in my eye with a smile on my face thinking of Jo Ann and the likely words she might have been singing….perhaps Jingle Bells, Batman smells, Cancer sucks an egg….with the additional possibility of an inserted eye roll and cringe at the mere sound of the bells.

You see, Jo had a love/hate relationship with the sound of bells. She was a thriving Naperville mom and community volunteer that was hit with Stage 2A Breast Cancer in 2011…and again with Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer in 2017. She shared her very personal journey and very raw emotions for years via blog posts at which were continually updated with the assistance of #TeamJoJo in the last few weeks as such:

Sometime between Jo Ann’s initial diagnosis in 2011 and her MBC diagnosis in 2017, the Cancer Center at Edward Hospital got “the bell”. The thought behind the bell is great. It represents strength, perseverance, faith, and all the other things that go into a cancer battle. That battle is different for everyone, but the goal is the always the same. You fight to live so you have more time to be with those that you love. The fight is often grueling, and the bell signifies a celebration of your last cancer treatment. You’re healed! You’re cancer free! Who wouldn’t want to celebrate that, right? But here’s the rub, not everyone gets to ring that bell.

I was personally enlightened and inspired once again as I continued to read this #TeamJoJo post written by Anita on November 26, 2020.

It just wasn’t fair that some people got to be cured and she had to fight till the end. It just hit home the truly shitty short straw that she was dealt. But then out of nowhere in the delirium of her last couple of days, she mentioned the bell. She wanted us to ring bells for her because she never got the chance. Her legacy of honesty about what cancer is really like will live on in the many people she touched thru Team JoJo.

Even till the end…..Jo Ann inspired others to make the best of whatever life gives you.

Carpe Diem…..even with Cancer…..even during COVID-19.

Carpe Diem! Seize the Day!

Jo Ann LIVED – checking items off her Life List that hung on her kitchen cabinet. She visited the Renaissance Fair and Japanese Gardens, hiked Waterfall Glen, climbed a gorge in New York, took a Cinderella carriage ride in Nashville; ate a rooftop brunch, saw the Blackhawks, Hamilton and Mean Girls in Chicago; smelled the tulip and lavender fields in Michigan; got lost in the sunflowers of Paris, IL; found peace in the waves of the Key West blue waters; saw the sparkle of Vegas lights; the awe of the Arizona Red Rocks of Arizona; and dreams came true on the black sand beaches of Maui. Even more personal, she watched her one daughter graduate from college and the other get married, and her son graduate from high school in a private ceremony, and her daughter’s new home just this past October.

Jo Ann LIVED her best life even through chemotherapy; even through COVID-19, even when she knew her time was limited. She seized every single day and inspired those around her to do the same.

She once shared with me, “I talk about it all – the good, the bad, and the ugly. I let people see the raw and vulnerable side to my life,” Jo Ann says. “We have to be honest first to ourselves and with that you can make remarkable changes in your life.”

A stark reminder to always LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE – no regrets – LIVE WHILE YOU CAN - - - while you still can…………………….

Thank you Jo Ann Mirabelli for your inspiration to an entire community and teaching us all to seize the day! I hope you will all take some time to read through #TeamJoJo entries and perhaps share with someone you know who is facing a similar battle and needs encouragement.

F You Cancer……Carpe Diem!



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