Saturday, July 10, 2010

Second Annual Fun Run

It was a gorgeous, muggy morning at the 2nd Annual Nancy's Butterfly Fund Fun Run. Nan would have loved the 5K course through the woods...I enjoyed it but did have to walk a bit more than I usually do. I think the fact I got up at 5:00 AM to get ready for the run didn't help. Thank goodness it was non-competitive! :)

Now that the Run is over, I feel I can really let myself feel the loss and grief that accompanies this time period. I miss her often, of course, but right around now I'm fully into "two years ago today..." thoughts, and it's been hard to set those aside for the sake of the Fund.

In an interview today, one of the questions I was asked (not aired) was "if you could talk to Nancy today, what would you tell her?" I laughed and responded that I talk to her all the time! I must have sounded a bit crazy, but she is a beautiful presence in my life. I feel blessed to have known her as long as I did.

What I would say, what I do say, is "I love you, Nancy. I miss you. Thank you for being my friend."

Sunday, July 12, 2009

One year ago today

Honestly, I don't know that I can say much more than that. It has certainly been the worst year of my life, and yet every second of it is precious. Having Nancy in my heart lends me strength in difficult circumstances, and her shining examples of patience and attention have given me a roadmap for how to be a better mother and friend.

Why does this suburban housewife have such a lasting impact? If you ever met her, you know - she was larger than life, and embraced life with a passion and intensity I have rarely known. She really cared about people and embodied that caring in word and deed. She was not in any way perfect, but her flaws were also identified, embraced and celebrated.

So even though I grieve, I know that she lived her short time on earth extremely well. Her legacy lives on in the dozens of friends, hundreds of people touched by her story, the present and future women we will help with Nancy's Butterfly Fund, and of course, in her beautiful daughters and her family in Canada. Those children continue to be held in Nancy's "tunnel of love."

Peace to all who grieve with me on this day. Lift a glass to Nancy and to yourself, it's what she would have wanted.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

St. Rita's Ministry Prayer Vigil 5/19/2009

Now that this can become a blog again and not be an official website for Nancy's Butterfly Fund, I can go back to posting like a blogger. Last night I had the good fortune to be invited to present the Fund at the St. Rita's Ministry Prayer Vigil at St. Michael the Archangel church in Cary. This is what I said -- crying the entire time, I might add.

Last year at about this time, I was planning a going-away party for my best friend Nancy Cooper. It was a difficult party to plan, not only because of the emotional burden – I was so sad she was leaving, but so supportive of the move and excited for her at the same time – but also because the date was a moving target. Nancy's moving date was not in her control, as she had no financial resources of her own beyond a weekly cash allowance. With no access to a credit card, she could not arrange for the moving van.

Even given this constraint, Nancy had managed to plan a new life for her and her girls in Canada. Her sister Krista had prepared a room for them, and Nancy had set up three job interviews. She had found a pre-school nearby for Bella. At the “Saddest Party Ever” - as I titled it – her large and generous group of friends were all going to bring money to help defray the moving expenses and to help her get on her feet. When the moving van was finally arranged for, I bought a one-way ticket from Canada so that I could help her drive up with the girls. Everything was settled, we thought...she was ready to leave and start over.

Unfortunately, the separation agreement, when it arrived that week, was not signed. The moving van was called off. The move was cancelled. We went ahead and had the party anyway, since selfishly we were happy she was staying – and we wanted to show our unconditional support for her in her very difficult situation. We celebrated her continuing presence in our lives, as we had all feared the hole she would leave when she moved.

Now she is gone forever, and that hole is a terrible chasm. Nancy was the best friend of so many, she was so integral to our lives, and we know we can never replace her. She was the one we called when we were upset, or sad, or angry, and we are more upset, sad and angry than we have ever been.

In the months since Nancy's death, we have questioned how we can bring something positive from this devastation; our answer has become our desire to help other women and children leaving domestic violence situations. This is the chrysalis for Nancy’s Butterfly Fund. Our mission is to minimize the financial obstacles that may prevent women from leaving violent unsafe homes. The fund will provide financial assistance for individuals and families participating in InterAct’s programs and services. Specifically, the assistance fund may help with apartment and utility deposits, childcare, education, food, transportation and other basic financial needs and services. In essence, this is what we were prepared to do for Nancy at her going-away party, but we have realized that not everyone has access to that kind of help.

To honor Nancy, we have planned several events to raise funds for Nancy's Butterfly Fund – first, a black-tie optional Gala which we are sure that Nancy would have been excited to buy a dress for on June 13th, and second, a Family Fun Run on the anniversary of her death. We hope these upcoming events help us to remember Nancy's wonderful spirit, and to share her zest for life with the community.

Sometimes financial obstacles make the difference between leaving and staying. If we can help one family reach safety, if we can raise awareness in an abused woman that this is not her fault, and that it can happen to anyone, if we can save one life – well, it will never be enough, but it will be a start.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Nancy's Butterfly Fund official website

The Nancy's Butterfly Fund official website is up and running! Please visit for updates on the Fund, our exciting upcoming events, or for information on how to donate in the US or in Canada.

In other news, an amazing group of 35 volunteers has been working tirelessly to make the Inaugural Gala event at Lifetime Fitness in Cary a night to remember. Tickets are on sale, and you can contact to purchase them.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Nancy’s Butterfly Fund Announced

April 20, 2009

For Immediate Release

CARY, NC - Friends of Cary murder victim Nancy Cooper announce the creation of Nancy’s Butterfly Fund, a fund that will provide financial assistance to women and their children leaving abusive relationships. Nancy’s Butterfly Fund will be managed by Interact, a renowned local nonprofit agency that provides safety, support and awareness to victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Organizers say their goal is to minimize the financial obstacles that may prevent women from leaving violent unsafe homes. The fund will provide financial assistance for individuals and families participating in Interact’s programs and services. Specifically, the assistance fund may help with apartment and utility deposits, childcare, education, food, transportation and other basic financial needs and services .

“In the days immediately following Nancy's death, a butterfly, both large and vivid, seemed to be a constant guest in our neighborhood and it came to symbolize our departed friend. We have selected the butterfly symbol to memorialize, honor Nancy and to support victims whose lives are impacted by dysfunctional domestic violence relationships,” said Garry Rentz, Nancy Cooper’s father.

The inaugural event to raise money for Nancy’s Butterfly Fund will be held on June 13, 2009 at Life Time Fitness in Cary, North Carolina. Cooper, an avid runner, was a member of the club. The fundraiser will include a silent auction, live music, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. It will give everyone who attends a chance to support the cause while having fun, something Cooper would have enjoyed.

Information will be released soon about how to get tickets to the upcoming fundraiser. To donate, visit Interact and select "Nancy's Butterfly Fund" from the drop-down list.

Any businesses that would like to donate goods and services are asked to contact any of the advisory board members.


Interact is a private, nonprofit United Way agency that provides safety, support, and awareness to victims and survivors of domestic violence and rape/sexual assault. Interact has recently opened the Family Safety and Empowerment Center in Raleigh, which brings together nine other community agencies to provide wrap-around services for victims and survivors of violence and abuse. The agency provides two 24-hour crisis lines, group and individual counseling, bilingual counseling, specialized children’s counseling, case management, court and hospital advocacy, professional training, and a full curriculum of violence prevention in the Wake County schools. Interact also operates Wake County’s only confidential residential program for women and children fleeing domestic violence. Visit Interact at

Please continue to reference this site for details, or contact any of the advisory board members listed below:

Hannah Prichard
Susan Crook
Jessica Adam
Diana Duncan

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Exciting news on the way

Last year, Nancy hosted a really fantastic Easter Egg hunt -- even in the cold weather, fun was had by all. We miss her so much every day, but days like this are even more poignant.

However, in the midst of our grief come rays of sunlight -- some very exciting things are happening on the organization front, which may help bring meaning to this terrible tragedy. Stay tuned...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Cary Police team with Interact

I saw this in the paper today: Cary Police team with Interact

If there can be any good to come from this terrible tragedy, I hope it will be that abused partners will get out of bad situations, and that there will be support systems adequate to allow them to feel they can leave without being forced into hiding or poverty.

Divorce is much better than Death.

I am continually impressed with the Cary Police Department. They live their work.