THE MOST BEAUTIFUL ROSE, Michael Segal

I really did not know her that well; however, in a sense, we knew each other very deeply. Her name was Marnie. Professionally, her name was Dr. Rose. She was a star on "Houston Medical", an ABC reality based summer, prime time television show featuring the patients and staff of Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. She was the character who was both a physician and a patient, having been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Dr. Rose was always positive, both on screen and off. I got to know her by attempting to encourage her. I would call her approximately once a week. Once I said to her, "May I come by to visit with you?" However, she replied that she had plenty of out of town company that weekend. Another time I asked to see her but she declined by stating that she wanted time to improve medically so she could do more than she was currently doing.

Marnie always wanted to do more. I guess that was what made her so special. Most people go to high school; many go to college; some go on to Graduate School. Marnie went beyond that. She attended Medical School. It was not easy, but Marnie realized that few things in life that are worth doing come easily. That is why Marnie went to the Soviet Union three times to work with the victims of the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor accident. She also continued her cancer research during Medical School.

Even though as a youngster Marnie refused to have her family take many photos or videos of her, she agreed to allow the producers of "Houston Medical" to follow her and take pictures and video tapes of her medical condition before six million viewers. One might ask themselves: "Why?" However, that answer is simple. If it could help even one person suffering from cancer to face the next day, that was worth Marnie's uneasiness.

Not only did she succeed in helping that one person but she succeeded in helping thousands and millions; not merely people dealing with cancer, but also those dealing with ordinary life.

Marnie taught us so much. She taught us the importance of a family's love. She taught us the definition of courage and bravery. She taught us the importance of living for the day and making the most of each day. She taught us the meaning of dignity. She taught and showed so much in those six weeks that the film was shown throughout the nation. Her heart and spirit captured the love of all those whose lives she touched.

Marnie told me that I was her inspiration; however, in reality, she was my inspiration. She inspired and motivated everyone to believe that one should never give in nor give up.

Marnie's condition gradually deteriorated. She and her family continued to receive pessimistic news from the doctors. It was like being bombarded with constant negativity. How much could they take? Then, one day, when I called the family's home her mother sounded very happy and excited. "Mike, we finally have some good news. The new medication is shrinking the tumor!"

Marnie's mother's excitement was contagious. Finally, some good news. I was so happy for the family!

I left town early on Thursday happy about the positive results. My parents left town earlier that same week with the same thoughts. (My father was Marnie's Rabbi and was constantly keeping in touch with her progress through the family.) Therefore, we were all stunned, shocked, and saddened when the news came later that week that Marnie had passed away on Friday due to a stroke. Marnie, beautiful both inside and out, was gone.

As Rabbi Brian Strauss said during his eulogy for Marnie, "Rabbi Todd Doctor's beautiful metaphor comparing life to a candle really describes Marnie." Rabbi Strauss stated that with a candle one can do three things: One can snuff it out prematurely, one can allow it to burn out naturally, or ONE CAN TRANSFER THE FLAME TO ANOTHER CANDLE.

True, Marnie Rose's "candle" was extinguished on that traumatic Friday; however, not before the candle had the chance to kindle so many other flames. That spirit will never completely fade away. Her family, her friends, and the countless patients and colleagues and other people whose lives she so dramatically touched by her inspiration will never forget her.

That is why I believe that the most beautiful rose, both inside and out, is the Marnie Rose.

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