NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

April 23, 2010

Continuing Linda's work; Family, friends ensure West Newbury woman's spirit lives on

"They say that you are born alone (although, as a mother, I would argue that point) and that you leave this world alone. I just want to say that after that initial moment of hearing my diagnosis, I have never felt alone again. I am surrounded by a wonderful husband and children, amazing extended family, the most steadfast of friends and a wonderful network of people who are praying for me all the time. It is truly a humbling experience to know that your existence matters."

Linda Rotondi of West Newbury wrote those words in her online journal one year ago this month. Last fall, Rotondi, the wife of Newburyport lawyer Chuck Rotondi and mother of two daughters, lost her battle with breast cancer — the very disease for which she had worked hard on efforts to support a cure.

For 12 years, Rotondi participated in the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk benefiting cancer research and care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Then in October 2006, she was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, a rare, aggressive cancer that claimed her life three years later at age 56.

Her family is now working to keep her memory alive through a memorial golf tournament set for late summer called Links for Linda.

As she wrote in her journal, Rotondi's existence mattered to a lot of people and still continues to today.

"We are doing something in her honor and in her memory to raise funds for a cause she worked for every year and ironically died of," Chuck Rotondi said.

The Rotondis met on a blind date more than 30 years ago. A native of Pennsylvania, Linda Rotondi worked as an English teacher in New York before moving east to work as the editor of the Lahey Clinic Medical Journal and later in the office of Newburyport dentist David Reczek. She later went to work for the American Red Cross, retiring as an administrator. Chuck Rotondi joined the Essex County District Attorney's office in 1980 before opening his law practice in Newburyport.

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