Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Rachel's obituary and details of services

Rachel Cheetham Moro, born August 2, 1970 in Perth, Western Australia, died Monday February 6, 2012 at Riverview Hospital in Red Bank, NJ after a courageous nine-year battle with metastatic breast cancer. 

Rachel spent the first twenty-seven years of her life in Australia graduating from University, qualifying as a Certified Practicing Accountant, teaching and building a small accounting practice in Perth.  She had an acute quest for adventure that would eventually take her to visit more than 40 countries, and one day decided to go on a two year “walkabout” to see what the world had to offer.  First stop was London where Rachel quickly found work as a CFO of a media company and built a network of friends including her beloved husband Anthony Moro. 

In 2001, Rachel and Anthony moved to New York City where Rachel attended and graduated from Fordham University with Masters Degrees in Business and Tax. Recruited by Ernst & Young upon graduation in 2003, Rachel accepted an international tax consultant position at EY’s world headquarters in Times Square.  Later that year, under the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, Rachel and Anthony were engaged to be married. 

Rachel was first diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2004. Multiple surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments followed, with a short interim break for Rachel and Anthony’s beachside wedding, albeit during a late summer Jersey Shore Nor’easter.  Completely bald from the chemo, Rachel joked that at least she didn’t have to fuss about her hair. 

Confident treatment was successful, because everyone “survives” breast cancer, don’t they? Rachel and Anthony began to rebuild their lives. They built their dream house on a hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and settled in with Newman the Norwich Terrier always at her side. Rachel was renowned for her dinner parties where guests dined on her gourmet-quality cooking and laughed at her snarky view of the world delivered in her quirky Aussie accent.  Out in the garden, Rachel’s green thumb was the wonder of the neighborhood.

Once again, however, life had other plans and the shocking diagnosis that cancer had returned and metastasized turned their world upside down and shaped the final years of Rachel’s life. Again, surgeries, chemo and radiation followed, this time with no end in sight.  In between the treatment and the fatigue, Rachel discovered it was necessary to bring substantial change to the status quo in charitable giving to breast cancer advocacy organizations.

Rachel directed her fierce wit, eloquence and intelligence to authoring and editing “The Cancer Culture Chronicles” (http://cancerculturenow.blogspot.com) where she both provided and found, true inspiration among the blog’s 100,000 readers.  Rachel believed “it's time to move beyond pink ribbons” and messages of "breast cancer awareness" and start agitating for “real and meaningful action in the fight to eradicate this disease for good.”  Another network of friends entered Rachel’s orbit throughout the process and they were enormously important to her as confidants and therapists over the last few years.  Rachel’s advocacy has had tangible results that will continue to help women with metatstatic breast cancer until the day this terrible disease is finally cured.

Rachel is survived by her Beloved husband Anthony Moro III and her faithful canine companion Newman; her mother Amanda Cheetham of Perth, Western Australia; her father Anthony Cheetham of Caloundra, Queensland, Australia and her brother Peter Cheetham, of Hilchenback, Germany.  She is also survived by mother-in-law and champion Felicia Moro and father-in-law Anthony Moro Jr. of Monmouth Beach, New Jersey; her brother and sister-in-law Adam and Jessalynn Moro and nephews Jayden Ristevski and Xavier Moro and niece Amelia Moro.  She is also survived by a number of dedicated medical professionals in New York and New Jersey and an incredible network of friends on every continent in the world. 

There will be an open house for those who wish to pay their respects at Damiano’s Funeral Home in Long Branch, NJ on Friday, February 10 from 5 pm to 8 pm.

Friends and family are invited to a celebration of Rachel’s life on Saturday, February 11 at McLoone’s Rum Runner Restaurant in Sea Bright, NJ beginning at 12 noon with lunch followed by a service.

In place of flowers or food, the family requests donations to be sent to further Rachel’s cancer advocacy at either of the two Rachel Cheetham Moro Memorials established with the following organizations:

Breast Cancer Action
55 Montgomery St, Ste. 323
San Francisco, CA 94105

METAvivor Research and Support Inc.
1783 Forest Drive #184
Annapolis, MD 21401


  1. This is the post I never wanted to read on Rach's blog. I miss her so much already. I've spent the day compiling tributes for the event on Saturday. But how could we ever say enough about this wonderful, sparkling, witty, amazing woman?

    I will be in New Jersey to honour and celebrate her life. I am so proud she was my friend.

    I will never forget her.

    1. Oh Sarah,
      You and Rachel had such a special friendship. My heart goes out to you, sweet lady, to you and Rachel's wide circle of family and friends. I'm honored to be in this life-affirming online circle of loving and giving women.

      My best to you this weekend. I know it will be so hard for all of you.


  2. So sad to hear of Rachel's passing yesterday when Tony got home from work. The world has lost a wonderful person whom I had the pleasure of meeting when she and Tony worked together at E&Y and neither one of us will never forget that Nor'Easter wedding. May you finally be at peace - your family is in our prayers!

    Julie (& Tony) Amitrano

  3. My deepest sympathies to Rachel's family. She was a blogger buddy of mine and I'm sick to hear this news. My best to all who knew and loved her in real life. She left her mark on this world.

  4. Reading this makes me realize what an accomplished woman Rachel was. I only "knew" her through our blogs and online connections. I will never get to meet her in person now, but even so, my life has been enriched beyond measure by her presence. I will be in New Jersey, if only in spirit, and Rachel will forever be in my heart. My sympathies to her entire family.

  5. So, so sorry for the loss of this amazing light in the world.

  6. Such an inspiring lady, I am glad to have reconnected through facebook with Rachel many years after leaving school. Reading her blog and her status updates on facebook always bought a smile to my face. She certainly has inspired me! My thoughts are with those closest to her for their loss, may you now be at peace Rachel. xxx

    Kym Beesley

  7. I'll also be in New Jersey in spirit on Saturday, along with my partner Sarah, who will really be there. Knowing Rachel was one of the greatest pleasures of my life, and writing and planning blogs with her one of its greatest honours.

  8. We wish we could be with you and Newman and your family on Saturday to celebrate Rachel's life, as I'm sure she would want us to rather than weep and sob, but alas we aren't nearby. Instead we'll celebrate with you in spirit remembering all great moments we shared with her.

    Sending all our love,

    Tatyana, Eral, Wilson & Kai

  9. As others have said, would love to be there in person, but will definitely be there in spirit. Have not stopped thinking of Rachel and her family since I heard the sad news on Monday. Love Marie x

    "And can it be that in a world so full and busy the loss of one creature makes a void so wide and deep that nothing but the width and depth of eternity can fill it up" ~ Charles Dickens

  10. Dearest Anthony, What can one say at a time like this except our thoughts are with you & your family. Its been many years since we last saw Rachel, I wish the last time we saw each other could have been during a happier time but alas it was at the service of her loverly sister Beck but she was never far from our minds & hearts. during Rachel's fathers wedding Rachel met one of her step nieces who was only a few months old at the time "Pyper", I only wish she had met her 2nd step niece "Laylla" but we know she is looking down smiling.
    Anthony! Rachel is now up stairs with Rebecca teasing each other over who gets to sit on the best cloud with my own mother as the umpire.
    Till next we speak, our hearts will wander <3 <3 <3 @->--
    Rachel! you & Beck were the best sister in-laws a gal could ask for xoxo
    Love always & forever Dawn, Kate, Jessica, Pyper & Laylla(Mandurah Western Australia

  11. Dearest Rachel

    How deeply sadden were we all to learn of your passing after an illness borne with such braveness and spirit. Our lives are lessened by your passing. Your friendship will forever be something spoken of with love by all my family.
    Like the slogan on the Tate and Lyle Syrup tin “out of strength came sweetness”, so did a lasting friendship develop out of a business relationship with your Beloved. A friendship developed across the bushveld of the Southern African savannahs, the sands of the Egyptian shores, the forests of New Jersey and the towering edifices of New York. Over many years this special friendship grew, firstly with me and then Susan and in the last few years with Christine, Alice, Jared and Brit, and Simon. Your care and guidance of my girls placed you on a pedestal with a special place in Susan and my hearts for the care and love you personally showered on them during their time in New York.
    How can I not share the wonderful memories of a Monmouth Beach triathlon, where as I started the running section on the boardwalk, I found this mad “Aussie Sheila” belly-aching at me to “Lift my legs you pussy”. I think the fact that I laughed for the first 2 miles of the run helped me finish the race.
    Always your home was a refuge, your hospitality legendary, your humour so refreshing for a fellow colonialist and the simple joy of sitting in your beloved garden something to lift the soul.
    Rachel, always know that we shall continue to give our love to your Beloved, with a special pat for our dear furry friend Newman, and hopefully we can assure them that whilst now they feel like Atlas and that the weight of the world is on them, your spirit will surely be with them always and that our families’ friendship can be depended upon to create a path for them to the future.
    I am sure that someday soon when the Beloved joins me to ride the Argus you will be with us in spirit.

    With Love

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