Only the Good Die Young

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I’m not sure Billy Joel knew just how true his songwriting would ring years later, but his ’77 hit “Only the Good Die Young” seems to play over and over in my head when tragedy strikes.

I’ve been around young death ever since I can remember, and I’ll never stop being completely shocked and saddened when it happens. So when I first heard about my high school friend Dana (Fogarty) Mitchell being diagnosed with Stage III Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Tongue in April of last year, I just couldn’t believe it. How could someone so young, so nice, be deserving of such a thing?

Dana and I lost touch after high school but reconnected while going through mutual health scares. She knew she had oral cancer and underwent aggressive treatment including chemotherapy, radiation and a total glossectomy (tongue removal) over the course of last year. I was in awe of how brave she was and we chatted about our conditions for a short time. Below is one of the encouraging messages she sent me…


After a long fight, Dana passed away September 7, 2013. Her strength, determination, prayers and thoughtful words will stay with me as long as I live. Dana didn’t let her illness stop her from being happy. She married this summer, and I always saw pictures of her with a smile on her face. And that’s Dana. I wish we wouldn’t have lost touch after high school. Her kindness and strength will forever be etched in my memory as a reminder of how I should live my life. Her quote in the high school yearbook (above) really says a lot about who she was…wise beyond her years.


About Carrie Williams

Carrie Williams is TCW's managing/digital editor. She manages day-to-day editorial operations of the monthly print publication, website and social media outlets, contributes to a variety of feature articles and directs a team of interns, freelance writers and bloggers. In early 2013, she led the redesign of of TCW's brand strategy. Her blog, "Carrie On," is a blog of reflection and discovery, discussing how to push through life when you’re handed one too many curveballs. And finally, Ms. Williams is also executive director of the TCW Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit supporting underfunded women's and children's organizations.