Her life with cancer became a shared experience

  • Ruth Gesmer Silverman with her beloved Gadi.

    Ruth Gesmer Silverman with her beloved Gadi. Photo by Bert Tovrog courtesy of the Silverman family

Published12/8/2008 12:01 AM

Our mother, Ruth Gesmer Silverman, chose to discontinue her chemotherapy treatments at the end of October. She is comfortable with her decision, but her health has declined since that time.

This will be the last Life With Cancer column. She knows that she was an inspiration to those of you living with cancer.


We knew that she would want to have closure with you, her readers, but she is no longer writing or communicating via e-mail. We are all saddened by this news. You can be reassured that she is comfortable. She is receiving visitors (close family friends) and is enjoying their company, along with her cat, Gadi.

While it may seem odd to some that she truly looked forward to her chemotherapy treatments on Wednesdays, it made perfect sense to her. She was warmly received by the staff at the Kellogg Center at Glenbrook Hospital and made many friends there. The staff and other patients shared her experiences as they helped her try to overcome the disease.

If you've read Ruth's columns, you know she has had a special bond with her cats.

Due to the kindness of the Crazy Bat Cattery and her present assisted-living facility, her cat, Gadi, comes for sleepovers. They provide comfort to each other.

Since her family is not close by, Mom's friends have been running errands at a moment's notice. Nothing can replace the love and support that Ruth's longtime and new friends provide to her and her family.

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Although our parents divorced a while ago, our father continued to help Ruth with tasks that she could not perform on her own. Her cousins are her phone buddies, always keeping an ear open.

One of her favorite restaurants is The Continental, in her longtime hometown of Buffalo Grove. Pete Panayiotou has been preparing Mom's favorite foods for her for years. This past year Pete always would find a way to boost her mood with food, just like a Jewish mother would.

Ruth lived in the same home in Buffalo Grove for 30 years. She gave to the community through her writing (columns and special features for the Daily Herald) and the community embraced her back. She knows everybody and everybody knows Ruth Silverman.

Through the years, Ruth has been a voice for the people of Buffalo Grove. She loved to write about things that nobody else was covering. During this past year, her column about living with cancer allowed her to continue doing what she loved; writing and communicating with people.


As her daughters, we wanted to express thanks on behalf of our mother to the many people who helped her live with cancer.

- Sharon Gjertsen and Elisa Silverman

• Cards for Ruth may be sent in care of her editor, Anna Madrzyk, The Daily Herald, P.O. Box 280, Arlington Heights, IL 60006.

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