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Polly’s Story

It takes a special person to stay positive and think of others in bad times – and that was Polly. After raising four kids and retiring from teaching, she was looking forward to her new “Nana” role. But a simple check-up turned her life around for the second time. In 2009, she underwent a double mastectomy but became a breast cancer survivor. Then in 2018, she was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of leukemia. Despite surgeries and treatments, she passed away a year later on November 19, 2019. Two cancers – unrelated – in one lifetime. But family and friends agree that the cancer never really stopped her. Through it all, she was there for us as a caring mom, loving wife, and fun sister. A very sad story became an inspiration, and the Always Family First charity is in honor of Polly’s memory. Her family-first attitude is how she lived her life and shared her love.

Always Family First Inc.

We set out on a fundraising mission a year ago with the goal of raising enough money to establish a formal charity. Because of the overwhelming generosity of our family and friends, those funds allowed us to establish Always Family First, Inc. It’s a non-profit charity to honor Polly through charitable contributions to organizations that were special to her.

What Does the Logo Mean?

The Always Family First logo is our Mom’s self-portrait. She drew it at the end of every letter she sent, and Mom sent a lot of letters. Birthday cards, care packages, gentle reminders to stay in touch. On every one of them, she drew a face with her trademark curly hair and her just-as-trademark smile. Mom still sent a lot of mail in 2019, the year that she was fighting the leukemia that took her from us. She remembered every birthday, holiday, and anniversary, and made sure to check in on us even though she was the one with a life-threatening illness. Mom always put family first; she wouldn’t let the cancer take that from her. The drawing embodies Mom’s generous and tenacious spirit, and when we had to choose a logo for Always Family First, the choice was obvious. Every time we use the logo, we want it to be that gentle reminder to our family — and all families — to stay in touch. That’s the best way to honor our Mom.