The Fox Valley lost a true mover and shaker with the Oct. 31 passing of Joyce Bytof. That’s how I knew her from a distance through the years. An interview in May gave me a closer experience with this extraordinary woman.
I saw beyond the successful businesswoman to an individual who was convinced her will could hold back the illness. Her opponent proved invincible, but so was her spirit. Knowing in her heart that her time was short, her regrets were over having to choose what she would leave undone for her family and her community.
We deviated from the list of questions to talk about health problems in my own family and the importance of accepting emotional support from others. She had sought out others with her rare form of cancer to trade advice and experiences. She noted regretfully how several had succumbed to cancer. She vowed she would not give in.
Cancer took Joyce Bytof’s life, but not her influence. Her legacy of working for the community at large lives on in many places and organizations. In that way, she will cheat cancer in death as she had for so long in life.
David Horst is communications specialist at the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. Portions of his interview with Joyce Bytof are available on YouTube.