Saturday, October 01, 2011

Suzy Eckmann Needs Our Help, Love and Prayers -- Message from Sari Kadison-Shapiro

Hi Fred...
I wrote you a couple of weeks ago to let you know about Suzy. This is an appeal to everyone and I'm addressing it specifically to you because of the great job you did gathering everyone's email addresses and keeping them up to date, and also in acknowledgement of Sooz being your prom date all those years ago. I've communicated with a few people about this, but not many. And now that I realize that I'm addressing everyone that I can possibly reach through email, it's just about the most difficult thing that I've done in recent memory.

Richie Rosen's eloquent eulogy for Stan Katz inspired me....especially the part about our looking out for each other.Our classmate and my dear friend, confidante and godmother of my son (as much as a Jewish kid can have a godmother), Suzy Eckmann, has been diagnosed with stage 3-4 non-Hodgekins Lymphoma and unfortunately has no health insurance.

Suzy has worked all her life as many of you might know. She worked at Howard Johnson's in high school and worked very hard to be a headliner in Student Stunts as a freshman. (Remember?) She was in Second City (with John Belushi and the Murray brothers, Brian Doyle and Bill) and then the Proposition in Boston with Jane Curtin.

Her comedy partner John Monteith was in Toronto's Second City with Gilda Radner, Dan Ackroyd and John Candy. Together they had their own Off-Broadway show, attended by many
show busisness luminaries and then the show moved to Broadway and was produced by Jim Lipton (of The Actor's Workshop.) During that time, I got to meet Robin Williams, Norman Lear, Carol Channing, Sylvia Sims, Andy Warhol and others who came to their shows. I have to say that Suzy was even more thrilled when old friends she knew from Highland Park came backstage to see her.

No one becomes a comedian for the money and anyone over 35 can't keep up with the demands of the comedy circuit. So what happens to our childhood friends who make us laugh and keeps us entertained?

We count on them to lift our spirits and put a smile on our face. One way we can give back is buy one "ticket" to all the shows we never paid for and for all the memories of good times past and present. We gotta be able to laugh in a decade where daily life is no laughing matter. Even just among friends from HP this could be a great way for friends to help friends.

Last year, the company Suzy was doing catering for cut all their employees back to part time, which meant no benefits. It's quite difficult to pay rent in New York City on an hourly wage. And now that she is ill, she cannot work at all. The doctor she went to said she could use a PET scan, but since she had no insurance she would have to make do with a CT scan. It hurts my heart to think that her care could be compromised because of a lack of funds.

During this time of the Jewish High Holidays, even those of us who are not religiously observant look back on the past year and think of the friends, family members and/or acquaintances we have lost. Like Richie said, we are so fortunate to have our friends from school in our lives. Even if you're not religious, please say a prayer for Suzanne to be written in the "book of life" for the coming year.

Perhaps if we all can contribute a small amount or whatever we can afford, we can help Sooz get the care she needs....or at the very least help ease some of her very real financial worries while she fights for her life.

I've set up a fund at called "No Laughing Matter". Here's a link to it:

Thanks to everyone....for your generosity of spirit and being in my life. Stay well.

Love, Sari