I met Stirling at last year’s Pan-Massachusetts Challenge bike ride. She was directed by friends to find me at the end of day one at Mass Maritime Academy where all 5,000 riders congregate after day one of the ride. She met me near the beer tent and we chatted for a while. She had osteosarcoma — the same cancer that 40 years ago took my leg and a lung — and she was dealing with a replacement knee as well as the cancer having spread elsewhere. Stirling was a great athlete and was continuing to maintain her high level of activity in spite of the cancer having metastasized to her lungs and other vital organs. I wish I got to know her better. I am so sorry she is gone now. There was a nice obituary in the Boston Globe last week I am reproducing here.
Stirling Auchincloss Winder died peacefully at her home in Manchester, MA surrounded by family and friends on Saturday July 28, 2012 after a lengthy and valiant struggle with Osteosarcoma. She was 26 years old. She is survived by her parents John S. Winder of Annisquam, MA. and Betsy Winder of Manchester, MA. and her brother Alden S. Winder. She is also survived by her mother’s significant other, Jeff Hotchkiss and his daughters Courtney and Kinsey; her paternal grandmother, Mary S. Winder of New Haven, CT; her maternal grandmother Frances A. Thorington of Easton MD, and many, many aunts, uncles, cousins and close friends. Stirling was employed by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the NICU and was attending Northeastern University to complete her Pediatric Nurse practitioner degree. She was a 2008 graduate of the University of Vermont where she played Division 1 field hockey and a 2004 graduate of Governor Dummer Academy (now known as Governor’s Academy). Her selfless attitude toward life and all of those around her was evident in her relationships as a daughter, friend, teammate and nurse. Her devotion to finding a cure for her cancer was so strong that it not only took her into nursing, but also led her to ride in the Pan Mass Challenge. Since 2009, she raised over $40,000 for cancer research. At her request, a fund for Osteosarcoma research has been created to continue her great work. A memorial service will be held at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 705 Hale St., Beverly Farms, MA, Wednesday, August 8, 2012 at 11 a.m. Burial will be private. Relatives and friends are invited to attend. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her honor to the Stirling A. Winder Fund at the Essex County Community Foundation, 175 Andover St., Danvers, MA 01923 or www.ECCF.org . Information, directions and condolences at www.campbellfuneral.com .