Remembering Erica Chase Salerno, Enthusiasm Incarnate

by Eva Tenuto

Last February, Erica Chase Salerno, a friend, and TMI Project storyteller passed away from Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. It’s Breast Cancer Awareness month and while I’ve thought of her every month since her passing, the influx of pink ribbons is sparking memories. 

Erica Chase Salerno was exaggerated enthusiasm incarnate, making each one of us who had the privilege of crossing her magical path feel seen, special and celebrated. She came to many TMI Project performances and fueled my fire with her over-the-top post-show excitement. Unbeknownst to her, I’d often get her overflowing doses of inspiration just when I was considering giving up. Her belief in the work and her uninhibited way of sharing herself kept me going. 

When she found out she had cancer she started sharing her journey about life, death and dying with candor and intention. I was lucky enough to read her writing, hear her interviews, be in conversation with her and hear her share her story on multiple occasions. Her deep sharing changed me. 

In addition to being bigger than life, I was floored by how she honored her intuition. She based her decisions around a “knowing” that was not tangible. She spent time getting quiet to access her messages, and once she received them, respected them as the ultimate truth. She lived her life for herself fully with no apologies to anyone she loved, because this living for herself, was ultimately part of her loving. 

I learned a lot from her from afar and cherished every moment I had in her presence. This truly is a gift of a story from one of the most EPIC, GAME-CHANGING individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. We miss you, Erica.

 

WATCH ERICA’S STORY BELOW

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