Sister Loss


The death of a sister can be a painful loss—a loss that, for some, leaves a lifelong ache.  For singer Patti LaBelle, the death of her two sisters from lung cancer propelled her to lend her fame and influence to the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE initiative to raise awareness about the dangers of the disease for women.

We often hear of a parent who launches a foundation in the name of a deceased child.  The foundation is focused on raising awareness—often on raising funds—that will help the general public learn more about a range of issues from gun violence, to disease, to child molestation.

(My parents, for example, started a fund to annually support a deserving musician  because of my brother’s love of music and his burgeoning skill as a guitarist.)

Less frequently, do we hear of siblings who start a foundation or create a trust fund to raise money/awareness in memory of their sibling.

But that’s what Kate Fitzsimons did after the tragic death of her older sister Nicole who, while in Thailand with her boyfriend, was in a horrific motorcycle accident and died.

Kate and her family created a trust fund that would raise money for things Nicole “loved and was passionate about”, such as sponsoring a ballet student.”

The trust fund eventually grew into the Nicole Fitzsimons Foundation, allowing Nicole’s life to be commemorated in the light it deserves. “We couldn’t let her down without taking on that same kind of fearless attitude and bring something positive from such an unfair tragedy,” Kate said.

Aussie Kate also discovered that many Australian tourists, while visiting other countries, die in motorcycle accidents.  She felt so passionate about the issue that she left her corporate career to devote all of her energies to promote safe travel.

“I’m only one voice but I’m going to make it as loud as I can and try and make it travel as wide and as far as I can,” Kate Said.

Whether famous or not, sisters who lose a sister can elevate their loss to a whole new level by honoring the deceased by volunteering for relevant organizations, establishing a trust fund or a foundation.  Such commitments keep the deceased sibling’s memory alive and provides a way in which the living can make their loss a little bit less painful.



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