Writer whose words gave hope loses
Cherie Blair leads tributes to 44-year-old JC columnist
CHERIE BLAIR has led tributes to journalist Dina Rabinovitch, who lost her fight with cancer on Tuesday morning.
Ms Rabinovitch, 44, a JC and Guardian columnist, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 and wrote extensively about living with the illness.
Mrs Blair was an avid reader of her fortnightly Guardian column, and phoned her on many occasions to tell her how much she admired her work.
Speaking to the JC on the day of Ms Rabinovitch’s death, Mrs Blair said: “It is heartbreaking.
“She was a wonderful woman who has been a huge inspiration and has helped many other women.”
Mrs Blair, a patron of Breast Cancer Care, added: “Often when you read about breast cancer it’s about a brave struggle and a battle.
“But Dina Rabinovitch wrote about living day-to-day with cancer, about things such as your hair falling out and having weeping breasts.
“For women going through the same thing, it’s very helpful to have someone acknowledge these things instead of pretending it’s a valiant battle.”
It was her “searing honesty” that touched other women.
Mrs Blair added that, as a religious woman, she had felt an affinity with Ms Rabinovitch. Extending her sympathies to the family, she “wished them all a long life”.
Other tributes poured in from friends and colleagues, and on her blog, and hundreds of people attended the funeral at Bushey cemetery in Hertfordshire on Tuesday.
Her close friend Elena Schiff remembered her as “a wonderful, dedicated mother and friend and an inspiration, especially in the way she dealt with her illness and made life carry on normally for her family.
“She went to pick her son up from school every day, even if she had to go in a wheelchair.”
She recalled that her friend had been “cour a g e o us a nd p e r k y to the end” and said her columns and her blog, on which she also wrote about her illness, had helped many who “would wait daily for her encouragement”.
Guardian colleague and JC columnist Jonathan Freedland said it had been important to her to continue working as a journalist.
“She didn’t want to just be Dina with an illness,” he said.
“She was a highly esteemed journalist. I was very struck by that.
“And she was very good at it. Her column struck a chord with readers and received a huge response.
“She will be sorely missed at the Guardian and by her readers.”
Dina Rabinovitch: It was her “searing honesty” that touched other women, said Cherie Blair