Survive and Thrive


I almost couldn’t believe what I was reading when I got an email from Michelle Garonzik about her mother, Lilly Garonzik, who survived four cancerous brain tumors. But while Lilly’s story is noteworthy in its own right, the way that her illness has shaped her family is even more remarkable.

Freelance reporter Erica Rimlinger tells the Garonzik family story in this week’s issue. It’s not just a tale of one woman’s triumph over brain cancer. It’s also the story of siblings growing up and coming together to help their mother, creating a new normal, and deriving inspiration and guidance from their mother’s courage.

While the brain tumors are behind her, the 75-year-old Garonik has a new battle to fight: ovarian cancer. But as you’ll read in our cover story, she and her children are facing this new challenge with the same poise and determination.

And Lilly remains in good spirits. One afternoon last week, she happily left her Johns Hopkins Hospital room, where she was staying to be monitored after chemotherapy, and gamely got dressed and made up for a JT photoshoot. Her story serves as a poignant reminder that having a support system and unfettered determination can carry us through the darkest times.

In political news, Susan C. Ingram reports that John Olszewski Jr., a former District 6 state delegate, won the Democratic primary in the Baltimore County Executive race after a recount declared him the winner by 17 votes over state Sen. Jim Brochin (he led by nine after Election Day). In the tight race, even District 2 County Councilwoman Vicki Almond trailed by less than 1,000 votes. Olszewski will face state insurance commissioner Al Redmer Jr. in November.

As you may have heard, kosher Starbucks customers have to be a little more careful about what they order now. Connor Graham spoke to Star-K about the changes to the kosher authority’s recommended list of Starbucks products, which changed when the coffee chain introduced non-kosher hot sandwiches. Connor explains the shift in his piece on page 13.

With Tisha B’Av coming up, Repair the World: Baltimore and Moishe House Baltimore held a discussion group last weekend that took on the theme of using tragedy to spur action. Connor reports on the sometimes heated event on page 24.

Happy reading!

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