Somers, Connecticut – It’s hard to imagine a teen dying of leukemia at age 15 being described as having “lived a full, good life.” However, Genevieve Neiman’s parents used these exact words to paint a clear picture of their daughter’s approach to life, including her concern for those less fortunate than her and the creation of a scholarship in her memory that uses standards very different from the norm. .
Immediately after completing grade 4, Genevieve was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She endured major treatment and went into remission, which lasted nearly five years, but was rediagnosed with the disease last July. She had just completed her freshman year at Somers High School, achieved a high honors title, and was a member of the Environmental Club, Drama Club, and Basketball.
She began treatment on July 13, but lost her battle about a month later on August 11 at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
The weekend before her death, neighbor Beth Chase produced a video of her support, in which dozens of Somers classmates, teachers, friends and supporters offered words of encouragement and love.
They kind of rallied for her in the parking lot, Meredith Neiman said in an exclusive interview that she and husband Doug had with Patch at the family home the Friday before her death. “They had posters and stuff, and it was so honest. Beth is our neighbor across the street and she was also the sure-brother of Genevieve. We confirmed Genevieve literally the weekend before she went for her surgery.
“She watched the video, she played it over and over and just loved it. I loved seeing the flood of love and seeing her friends and kids that she didn’t know. We had people in the aftermath that I didn’t know, I’d never met and I waited three hours.”
Optimism was high regarding her recovery, but an infection had stabilized her already compromised immune system which proved unbeatable.
“It was a complete surprise, it all happened and her death,” Meredith said. “We didn’t actually know until the day she died, that it was going to pass. We didn’t know until it was too late.”
Until the end, Genevieve’s “evil sense of humor” was palpable, including her stated desire for some of her favorite foods.
“She wanted to escape from the hospital, grab an Uber and go to Texas Roadhouse, then sneak back in,” her mother said. “I wrote to the superintendent of the hospital asking for food and that no child should be without the food she liked. She was a foodie.”
Weeks after her death, the idea of a scholarship was raised in her name. Initial contributions will be made at the Somers Scarecrow Festival, where a variety of her favorite game has been made. Titled Game Sweet Shot by Genevieve, players would toss dimes onto a wooden game board in hopes of landing inside one of the different colored dots. Successful flings made cakes and pies for the players.
“The public donated pies and cake, so there were no real expenses,” Meredith said. The game board and gazebo are donated for free.
Today’s ration delivery came in an unexpected way on Genevieve’s favorite holiday, Halloween.
“We lined the streets with candles and set up fireworks in front of our house because Genevieve loved Halloween,” Meredith said. “Beth is Beth, she said you can’t miss Halloween. It’s Genevieve’s favorite night, she’ll haunt you. We had our drinks and we usually had about 17 kids. We had over 100, and a whole bunch of high school kids with their little siblings brought us money with these.” way”.
“The scholarship is really geared toward giving back, so volunteer work and random acts of kindness are what count,” she said. “We want to open it up to everyone, not just the people who go into education or further their education. Because Genevieve was so inclusive. She was about everyone. She stuck to everyone, she made you feel like you were a best friend. She loved so badly. She fought for whatever injustice she saw.” She desperately wanted to help the homeless. She was always worried about them—Where do they go? Where do they stay? How do they stay warm?”
Applications for the Genevieve B. Neiman Scholarship are available at Somers High School’s Guidance Office. It will be awarded to “a graduate of Somers High School who exemplifies Genevieve’s dedication to society and who has consistently demonstrated acts of kindness.” Applications are due by March 1, 2022.
Her mother laughed shortly before Genevieve died, “There was talk of her having a bone marrow transplant and she wanted Arnold Schwarzenegger’s bone marrow.” “I asked for it and they all looked at her like I was about to call him. Then she said, ‘Well, if I can’t get Arnold, can I get Ariana Grande?'”
In the final hours of her life, Doug and Meredith felt their daughter was ready to go.
“She was seeing spirits and seeing people. They were comforting her and preparing her, and she was ready. She didn’t tell us how much pain she was in,” they said.
Her mother concluded, “I wish I could be as strong, brave, and insightful as Genevieve. She lived with a smile, loved dearly, and was so strong.”
Doug and Meredith want to express their gratitude to the entire community. The text of their sincere thanks letter is as follows:
Dearest family and friends Genevieve,
I thank you! Thank you for all your kindness, love, prayers and generosity as we continue to celebrate the life of Genevieve. Genevieve was a sociable young lady peppy. She had an infectious laugh, a wicked sense of humor, and a beautiful smile which she often used to please people and do good things for her community. She loved giving back to people and wanted them to feel loved and happy. Genevieve was the most satisfied and positive young woman. She is missing and her spirit and luster is felt everywhere, especially in Somers.
We are very grateful to everyone who donated a Genevieve B. Neiman Scholarship at the Scarecrow Festival in October. The most brilliant commission, led by Kara Walters, created a game in honor of Genevieve. It was a game similar to the dime toss/cake booth at the Four Town Fair that Genevieve loved to play. Her board was custom designed in the shape of a cupcake and people tossed a dime at their “sweet Genevieve shot.” Those who got dimes got a special cake or pie donated by the public. The local Gesler restaurant helped anyone unable to bake. It was a pleasure to see all the people who played the game and donated in honor of our daughter. Genevieve would have loved to volunteer and add her year to that game!!! The “icing” on our cupcake was when we received your Halloween donation. While we were handing out treats on the sidewalk, a large group of Somers High School students and their younger siblings handed over your gift, which will be added to the scholarship. It was a wonderful tribute to Genevieve.
Our hearts are broken. We all mourn the loss of a young lady’s life to cancer. Genevieve continues to shine on us as we see her signs daily. We hope you will continue to search for its luster and continue to be kind to your business. I thank you!!!
With a lot of love,
Doug and Meredith Neiman
To sign up for free Ellington and Somers news alerts and more, click here.