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My Friend Helen Gardner


Normally, on Saturday, I write about software but this week, I’d like to share some thoughts about my business partner’s wife, Helen Gardner.

I’ve known Helen for over 15 years and have always admired her. She was a smart businesswoman, loving wife and mother but when faced with a terminal diagnosis of ovarian cancer, my friend Helen Gardner did not sit down. Oh no, she did everything in her power (and beyond!) to live every remaining day of her life in full throttle. She fought. She researched her disease and even educated her doctors! She did not take NO for an answer. She said YES to everything and wanted everyone else to also say YES.

She started a foundation so that other women would not suffer from this terrible disease.  In the three years since the inception of the Be the Difference Foundation was started, over $1,000,000 has been raised for research and awareness. But Helen was more than ovarian cancer. She was beautiful – inside and out. Funny, brilliant and creative. Blessed with a sharp wit and kind heart, she had a solution to any problem. She was a devoted wife and mother and her family was her most treasured possession.

Helen passed away on August 20, 2014 surrounded by her loved ones. To say she will be missed, is an understatement because Helen was a woman who made a difference in the lives of everyone she touched. Her spirit lives on in her family, friends and the Be The Difference Foundation. In Helen’s memory, her family is asking for donations to the Be the Difference Foundation. You can learn more here.




  • Lydia

    I am sorry for your loss and her family and the community she served. I, too, lost a dear cousin to this sinister cancer. Your tribute to her is touching. Thank you for introducing me to your wonderful friend, Helen.

  • Toni

    I am so sorry to read of your loss, and that of Helen’s family and friends. She must have touched so many hearts during her life and will be remember for many achievements.

    Now she will also be remembered by others. strangers, who you have touched with your words and her strength and legacy will go on to help many women.

    Thank you for sharing your grief…

  • Janelle

    This is beautiful Mom. Helen will be greatly missed but she will live on with the Be the Difference campaign. Her smile lit up a room and was infectious. She had such an amazing sense of style and poise that you could not take your eyes off of her. Her story is one of perseverance, strength, and optimism. She has taught me to never give up on myself, push my body to its limits, and never take “no” for an answer. She will never be forgotten and her family is in my prayers.

  • Carol Seavitt

    So happy Designs is supporting such a wonderful mission. I find it very difficult these days that we can create a vaccine for Ebola when it comes down to the wire and yet the researchers haven’t found one for ovarian or breast. May God grant you peace and love. Thank you again for sharing. Prayers for you, the team and Helen’s family. May she be the angel watching over us all.

  • Mo Bowlus

    My sincere condolence to all of you, it must be very hard for you all. God bless you all and your families.

  • Rachel Price

    Eileen and Helen’s family. So sorry for your loss. Our most sincere condolences go out to you all. Eileen, you spoke of Helen last May when you were at B Sew Inn in Tulsa. I bought the Be The Difference Embroidery Designs, and will continue to embroider and donate items to people I know who have cancer. May God bless you and give you all the comfort and strength you need during this difficult time.

  • Diana

    Prayers and blessings for you both and your families !

    Condolences to everyone: family, friends. May God bless you and give you strength during this trying time.

  • Karen Poole

    Wow, I’m so so sorry to hear of her passing away! I was really hoping and praying for a better outcome, but because of her tireless efforts many lives will be saved, and hopefully more Women and Doctors will know the symptoms earlier and there will be better treatments!! My condolences to the family and friends.

  • Wanda Leffingwell

    I was so sorry to read about Helen this morning! I My condolences to her Family and Friends!

  • Laurene Shewan

    What a tragedy. My prayers are with all her loved ones as you go through this very sad time.

  • Shirl R

    What a wonderful tribute to your dear friend Helen. My deepest sympathies to you all.

  • Sandra Cunningham

    Like others, I lost my dear friend and neighbor, Barb Wransky Atwell, to this horrendous disease. The insidious, silent nature of ovarian cancer is precisely why it is so deadly. I know my loss was indescribable and I sympathize with the loss of your friend as well. She sounds AMAZING!

  • Sherrie Lilly

    Eileen- prayers sympathy for you and Helen’s family and the DIME family. I know the hurt and loss that ovarian cancer can cause. I have lost a friend from ovarian cancer and my sister is a 5 year survivor of ovarian cancer.

  • April M

    I too have lost a beutiful woman who fought hard. So many treatments so much pain to just survive. I know in heaven she doesn’t see it that way! Because she had more time with her family and her church. Peace be with Your friend and mine. Thank you for sharring your story and your wonderful tribute. I shall check out her mission. You are such a good woman yourself. I wish you have peace and her family has peace. Many blessings and thank you for all you do.

  • Terri

    My deepest sympathy for your loss.

  • Doree shandera

    A beautiful tribute that is obviously written from the heart. She sounds like a wonderful woman who will have a fabulous organization to carry on her wishes.

  • Donna Fecteau

    My condolences on the loss of your dear friend. My thoughts and prayers are with you and her family.

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