Alicia M. Campbell marked her 45th birthday in August at the family cottage in Crescent Beach with those she loved. She took a kayak ride, sat by the campfire and shared a magical time free from the pain she had experienced since she was diagnosed with cancer for the second time in June.
Campbell, known as "Cookie Mom" in the North Buffalo Girl Scout troop she led, died Monday in the home she loved after a brief battle with cancer.
"It was an odyssey," said David A. Hassett, her husband of 17 years. "I still can't believe that such an energetic healthy young woman would be overrun by cancer so quickly."
Ms. Campbell lived in North Buffalo with her husband and their daughter Margaret "Maggie" Hassett, 10. Maggie was 9 months old, an orphan in China who was called "Little Shining" when the couple adopted her in September 2007, said Hassett. Her adoption occurred five years after Ms. Campbell was diagnosed for the first time with cancer, he said.
Ms. Campbell graduated from Mt. Mercy Academy in 1990. She received bachelor's and master's degrees from SUNY Buffalo State.
Hassett recalled the moment he met his wife at the old Southtowns YMCA where he served as director and Ms. CampbelI worked as a part-time childcare coordinator.
"It was the first real job I ever had," said Hassett. "I remember little about the other employees. She was unforgettable, the way she bounded into the room."
He proposed during a game of Trivial Pursuit, "pulling off the ultimate surprise when he inserted a specially-modified Trivial Pursuit card into a winter evening's game and used it to propose to Alicia," said Dennis Schaeffer, Hassett's cousin. They were married in July 2000.
The couple became known for their parties, but it was Ms. Campbell who turned the gatherings into family traditions. There were chili parties before Christmas and scavenger hunt parties in summer, where the creative names the couple concocted for teams sparked their Born in Buffalo shirt company.
Ms. Campbell was assistant to the regional manager in the shirt company, which her husband founded. Ms. Campbell also worked as a speech pathologist in the Buffalo Public Schools.
In February 2015, she took up running, said Jewel De La Rosa, who joined a running group with Ms. Campbell that was sponsored by Fleet Feet Sports Buffalo on Delaware Avenue.
"She lights up rooms," said Ms. De La Rosa, who ran her first half marathon with Ms. Campbell last October in Corning.
"She was a mentor for the learn-to-run program at Fleet Feet," said Ms. De La Rosa. "Even when it got hard she kept you motivated and would talk your ears off. She always had stories to tell."
In July, Ms. Campbell began planning her funeral, said her husband. "She picked all the songs. She wanted her cousin to do the eulogy."
Survivors, in addition to her husband, David and their daughter Maggie, include her mother June Campbell-Vanremmen.
A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Joseph University Parish, 3269 Main St.