The Wellesley Effect, as demonstrated by my classmates, actually saved my life. Six years ago, when I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma (cancer of the bone marrow), I decided to tell my closest Wellesley friend, Marilyn Hagstrum Sharpe, about the diagnosis. She immediately told me about the CaringBridge and helped my partner Susan set up a site, initially to tell friends and family about my diagnosis and keep everyone up to date about my treatment and, hopefully, my recovery. Then, Marilyn told our class secretary, Natalie Gaull, what was going on, and within days, my entire class had joined forces, through the CaringBridge, to help me through this challenging period in my life.
Mary Fellowes began conducting pranic healing sessions from Germany every week with Susan and me. Bonnie Sontag began cooking nutritious meals for us and delivering them from Massachusetts to our home in Maine. Others arranged and paid for snow plowing and shoveling, sent books and music, and prayed for us in every language and religion. Doris Jackson kept a room ready for us in Jamaica Plain so we would have a comfortable place to stay whenever we came to Boston for appointments at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She and her husband Michael shared our joy when we learned that the day spent harvesting my stem cells had been a booming success. Classmates collected enough money to send me to Brigham and Women's Hospital for my stem-cell transplant with a brand new tiny computer and have our house professionally cleaned from top to bottom so it would be safe for me to return there after my three-week stay in the germ-free isolation of the hospital.
Perhaps most importantly, my classmates read and responded to our daily posts on the CaringBridge and cheered us on in every way possible. When Susan and I decided to get married at Wellesley, they sent us greetings and gifts from all around the world, even though we could not invite any of them to our tiny ceremony, conducted in a spoonholder beside Lake Waban.
Although I know there were many reasons my cancer went into remission and has stayed that way for the past five years, I will always give a huge amount of credit to the Wellesley Effect, that is, the love and loyalty of my friends from the Class of 1969.