Shelley Lisbona died three and half years ago at the age of 17 from a condition called pulmonary hypertension. She had been on the high school fencing team and sang with her school chorale group. She was an average teenager, or, perhaps it is safe to say, she was an above average teenager. Her health had been complicated by what had been diagnosed as asthma and later vocal chord dysfunction. Subsequent fainting led to her diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension at age 16. She died four months later.
Shelley was remembered by family and friends this past week with a walk sponsored to raise money for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association and to remember this young woman. The length of the walk was not important, or even advertised. The route was not arduous. In fact, the walk was simply around the track at her high school in Wanaque, New Jersey.
People turned out and walked and raised around $3000 in Shelley’s memory. The group was not large. But people showed up. To walk, to remember, to do good in the world. And to continue to heal.
Walking is our most basic form of locomotion and transportation, getting from here to there. Going toward and than arriving at a destination. But walking with intent in its simplicity can also be a powerful form of communication: You are not forgotten.