Two announcements about longtime cohouser Joani Blank

[Editor’s Note: Many of us have “Joani” stories. Many of us can thank Joani for engaging us to cohousing; still more of us are grateful for the wisdom and encouragement she has provided to so many. I encourage you to share those stories with me! Alice Alexander, Coho/US Executive Director;]


I have very recently received a diagnosis of metastatic pancreatic cancer. It is a very aggressive form of cancer with a poor prognosis, and it is likely that I do not have a lot of time left.For that reason, I intend to treat only my symptoms, not the disease itself, because I want to enjoy myself and not feel sick during whatever time remains.

People often don’t know how to respond to a cancer announcement, so let me tell you what will work and not work for me.

Please don’t say something like, “Let me tell you about a book you should read/some herbs you should take/a meditation practice that will help you.” In other words I prefer not to hear advice or suggestions at this time.Instead, try something like, “That really sucks” or “I’m sad/sorry you’re sick” and/or if you are close by, you might offer me a hug.There’s no need to offer your help; I know that I will have it should I ask for it, and I will ask if I need or want it.
Watch for details of a Celebration of My Life (which I plan to attend) on July 30.


Believe it or not, I’m turning 79 on the 4th of July!

This year, I will be celebrating my birthday on Monday, the Fourth at 7:00 at Annapurna, the new Indo-Nepali restaurant at the corner of Clay and 10th Streets in Old Oakland. Dinner will cost $19.50 per person, including tax and tip. Alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase.

If you live in the SF Bay area and are going to be here over the 4th of July weekend and would like to come to my birthday party please let me know by email to

In lieu of birthday gifts, I am inviting you to make a donation to one (or more) of five of my favorite nonprofits.

(Coho/US will be one of them of course!) I will provide you with information about them when you RSVP so you can check them out before you come.

Even if you can’t come to my birthday party because you live much too far away or for any other reason, but you’d like to consider making a donation, please let me know and I’ll send you the list with the organizations’ web addresses, so you can take a look at them.



p.s. Local cohousing folk–The restaurant has limited seating, so the final guest list will be _first come first served,_ and I will let you know if you are on it no later than July 1. Apologies for the late notice. Needless to say, my life has been just a wee bit chaotic since June 3 when I had the first inkling of my diagnosis.

Category: History

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