The last few days here in Port St Lucie have felt very strange to me as I cover The Mets Spring Training Games. It is very hard to focus on my job. All I can do is think of Shannon Dalton Forde the Mets PR executive who passed away last week after a long and courageous bout with Stage 4 Breast Cancer.
I have known Shannon since 1994 and every season she made covering the Mets an absolute joy. But beyond that, she was a person that could make you feel good about yourself even if you were having an awful day. She did it with a smile or a joke and immediately made you feel better.
During the past few years as she battled this terrible disease, not one ounce of her personality changed. In fact, she was even more positive about everything. Her courage and determination is something I will never forget and quite frankly has inspired me greatly in the family health issues in my life as cancer has touched all of us.
How can we best remember Shannon? Never forget that breast cancer research is so important and no donation is too small. I spent a part of my career at Lifetime Television and understood early in my life that breast cancer is one of the biggest health concerns in this country. Shannon brought that to the public's eye because of her position with one of the greatest franchises in sports.
And she could have kept her struggles private but together with her family and friends she knew she had a chance to bring this issue to the eye level of all New Yorkers. And in typical Shannon fashion, rather than think about herself she thought of how this terrible situation could lead to research to help others even if she lost her struggle with it.
In today's sports world we overuse the word heroic but it can NEVER be overused when it comes to Shannon. She spent her whole career helping every one in every way she could. And in her biggest struggle, she still illustrated that. To me I will always think of her when I see a beautiful sunrise or a child smile and yes during a dramatic Mets win.
She embodied the spirit of what God intended when he created all of us. A person who would act the way he envisioned all the time. I am a better person for having known her and will miss her. But as the Mets begin the season and have special nights such as Mike Piazza Day or honoring the 86 Mets, I know Shannon will be watching from above smiling down on Citifield making a sunny day seem even brighter and inspiring all to help others.
Thank you Shannon. We will always love you.