Every year on my birthday (and many days in between), I have a chocolate milkshake, my favorite guilty pleasure since childhood. This year, my birthday milkshake takes on a new meaning.
On Friday, July 28, 2017, Emily Pomeranz ‘95 passed away after a long battle against cancer. Born in Cleveland, Emily grew up in Cleveland Heights. After graduating from Laurel School and Kenyon College, she earned her law degree at C|M|Law in 1995. She worked for many years as an attorney for the Board of Veterans Appeals in Washington, D.C., and as recently as last year, she was a donor to our Annual Fund.
Emily had pancreatic cancer (her third cancer in her 50 years of life). Her friend Sam Klein visited Emily in hospice, and asked her if she needed anything. “A Cleveland Indians hat,” was her first response. So, Sam brought her one the next day. Then she said that she wished she could have one more mocha milkshake from the iconic restaurant, Tommy's, on Coventry Rd. in Cleveland Hts. Knowing that she couldn’t travel to Cleveland, Sam sent a message to the general information email address on Tommy’s website, asking if there was a way to get a milkshake from Cleveland Heights to Arlington, Virginia.
A few days later, Sam got a call from Tommy Fello, the owner of Tommy’s. “Yes. We will figure out a way to do this,” he said. Tommy Fello shipped a carefully packed Tommy’s mocha milkshake to Emily. Emily was surprised and thrilled. She talked about it for days and days to friends and family. Emily’s story touched the hearts of millions (Milkshake Mission Impossible)
Marne Ruff ’94 (current LL.M. candidate) first brought Emily’s story to my attention. Marne wrote, “……she was a Cleveland-Marshall Alumni who worked at the V.A. in DC for over 20 years before being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She fought an amazing battle with two trips in and out of hospice and three different clinical trials (and this was her 3rd battle with cancer - 1st Hodgkin's Disease at 20 then breast cancer at 40 and finally pancreatic cancer at 50 - but the most inspirational part of Emily's story is her generosity of spirit - her message of hope and of #whatreallymatters. I think it is something that everyone can learn from. To never take your friends and family for granted and to always remember that they and joy are the most important thing in life.”
Today happens to be my birthday, and I will be drinking a Tommy’s milkshake in Emily’s honor to remind me what really matters.
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