The first time I met Elaine Gottschall was at a Long Island brunch. She had been visiting the NYC metro area and staying with Rachel Turet. Despite recently being awarded a 3rd degree black belt, Rachel looked tired. When asked why, she said she could barely keep up with Elaine during a day of walking through Manhattan.
During the last two years, having assisted Elaine in running her booth at several conferences, I've been continuously amazed at how a woman in her mid-80s could keep up such a schedule, her mind always sharp whether she debated doctors over a beer, soothingly explained the diet to worried parents, or continuously accepted thanks and hugs from people whom she had helped.
Frankly, I owe her my life. (There are few people you have the privilege to meet--who do things simply because they are correct, regardless of the personal consequences.) Recently, severe cancer has taken much of Elaine's physical strength1. Her mind and wit have not faded but for the last several weeks she has been in the palliative care2 section of a comfortable Canadian hospital.
This past weekend I went to Ontario in order to visit her. It was nice/inspiring to see others who have benefited from the SCD preparing soup3 to bring to Elaine at the hospital. Elaine was quite sharp during much of my time there--but the pain is quite high so there are good days and bad days, good hours and bad hours. Over-riding the pain in her body has been her concern for others, from planning how people can carry on her work/research to using her contacts to locate a doctor for a friend's sick family member. Late this week she decided to stop much of her pain medication--a difficult decision.
If you would like to provide her some comfort during this time, please mail your best wishes to:
- Elaine Gottschall
c/o Northumberland Hills Hospital
1000 DePalma Drive
1 Only a few months ago she was quite energetic--escorting her young grand-daughter on a trans-Atlantic flight to Paris.
2 similar to hospice in the US