SCARSADALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A 1982 movie has the line “He’s really not dead, as long as we remember him.” Well, that’s the spirit of an organization up in Westchester County.
It all started with friends chatting in a Scarsdale gym. In 2010, 40-year-old Dede Frontera learned that her breast cancer had metastasized.
“One day I found Dede in the gym, crying, and I said ‘What’s going on?’ and she said ‘The doctor said there’s nothing left to do,” Carri Rubinstein told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams.
All Frontera, who died that year, wanted to do was make a video for her 8-year-old daughter Nicole.
So, Rubenstein co-founded Thru My Eyes, a free non-profit service to help people with life-threatening diseases record those messages.
Stories From Main Street: Scarsdale Organization Helps Terminally Ill Leave Something Behind
“I’m giving parents a chance to leave a piece of themselves for their children and I’m giving children the gift of a lifetime because they will always be able to see and hear their parent’s voice,” Rubenstein.
“It’s a legacy for her. She gets to see her mother. She gets hear her mother. She gets all of these incredible sentiments from her mother that she wouldn’t have otherwise,” said co-founder Michelle Maidenberg.
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Maidenberg is a therapist and they carefully go over topics to be discussed and avoided in the videos, which are shot in the comfort of one’s home.
“It’s also therapeutic,” she said. “The fact that they’re able to just share with somebody their story about their lives is so therapeutic to them, that they have a voice, that their words are going to be heard, that their children are going to be able to hear their feedack, advice.”
“And not one of them says ‘I hope you make a whole lot of money in your life.’ They’re all talking about ‘Do something good in society. Be there for people,'” Rubenstein said.
LINK: Thru My Eyes
Ralph Corvo from Roxbury, Conn. cherishes the video of his wife Natalie, who died from breast cancer.
“It’s an heirloom. I think maybe the best to describe it. You know, you think you get a wonderful grandfather clock or somebody’s wrist watch or your mother’s China. This is a true heirloom,” he said.
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Thru My Eyes is run by volunteers, including Debby Ziering.
“As a parent, I just can’t imagine being ill and leaving my children,” she said.
Robenstein is constantly raising funds so patients won’t have to spend a penny and she wants to expand Thru My Eyes across the Tri-State Area and beyond.
“There is nothing that makes up for hearing your mother’s voice,” she said.