A classmate of mine at Medill – Northwestern University graduate school, class of ’82, has come up with a remarkable way to remember her younger sister, Lauren, who died of cancer in 2010 in Corona del Mar at age 49, and we were glad to participate again this year:
“Leave it to my little sister Lauren to come up with a last request that has become an international event,” Karen has written on Facebook. “Many of you know the story. When Lauren knew she was about to leave us after a 13-year battle with cancer, she wanted to make us smile. So she suggested we eat french fries on her birthday. It was our ‘go-to’ comfort food, and she figured it would make a sad day a bit sweeter. Since that day in 2010 — thanks to her friends and family, and the power of social media — people have been eating French Fries for Lauren on February 20 in every one of the 50 states and in countries all around the world.
“All we ask is that you eat french fries on the 20th wherever you are and post the photo or video here, along with your city/state/country. My mom, sister Susan and I spend the day watching all of your wonderful photos come in from across the U.S. and around the globe. We view and respond to every single one, and it truly turns a sad day into a celebration for us.”
The posts come from all over the world, not just the United States. So far, this year’s contributions — hundreds of them — have come from London, Berlin, Bucharest, Ukraine, Bosnia, Winnipeg, Jamaica, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Elkhorn, NE, among other places. One example: “Honouring Lauren in London with this ‘balanced’ 😂dinner, the best bit was the fries, obviously! Thinking of you Karen Heller and all those close to Lauren from across the pond. xx”
This year we opted for fries at Bacchus House Wine Bar & Bistro in Folsom during lunch. Karen wrote on Facebook: “Thank you Jeff and Shannon!! thank you for eating #FrenchFriesForLauren in Folsom!”