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'A show of support': Friends gather to let Superior family facing tremendous loss know they’re not alone

Jodi Rochon (left) embraces Annabelle Rochon of Superior as friends of the family, including Miranda Lynch (right, in Santa hat) of Superior, sing Christmas carols and deliver gifts to the Rochon home in Superior on Saturday evening. Annabelle's mother Lynn Rae Rochon died on Friday after a lengthy battle with cancer, and the friends gathered to show their support for the family. Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com1 / 3
Dominic Kennedy (left) and Andrew Pederson, both of Duluth, carry a television while delivering gifts to the Rochon home in Superior on Saturday evening. Lynn Rae Rochon died Friday after a long battle with cancer. Members of her high school class, the Superior High School class of 1993, organized Saturday's event to help her family. Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com2 / 3
Miranda Lynch (left) of Superior tears up while talking to Brian Lammi of Superior after seeing how many people turned up to sing Christmas carols and deliver gifts to the Rochon home in Superior on Saturday evening. Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com3 / 3

Miranda Lynch began tearing up Saturday evening when she saw Lynn Rae Rochon's friends gather to sing carols outside the Rochon house in Superior and bring the family Christmas gifts.

They all had hoped that Rochon would live long enough to have one last Christmas with her family this year. With cancer in her bone marrow, she recently had been given a few weeks to a couple months to live. She died on Friday.

On Saturday, the friends made sure to let Rochon's husband and children know they are not alone.

"They're going through such a hard time right now. For them to know how many people love them and care about them and are here to support them through this" is important, said Lynch, a friend who knew Rochon for 26 years.

Rochon battled cancer on and off for seven years. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. Then a tumor was found and removed from her hip. Then cancer was found in her bones.

"I'm glad she's not suffering anymore because she's been suffering for seven years," Lynch said.

Superior High School's Class of 1993 is a close-knit group, and once they heard that Rochon — one of their classmates — might not have long to live, they decided to help support Rochon and her family, classmate Brian Lammi said. They began fundraising to purchase gifts to make this year's Christmas extra special for Lynn Rae, her husband Scott Rochon and their children Trevor and Annabelle.

The group had planned to surprise the family with the gifts on Saturday night. After Lynn Rae lost her battle with cancer Friday, they decided to go forward with their plans after someone close to the family said it would be OK.

"We really just wanted to make it a show of support to the family," Lammi said. "It's one of those things that people should always do for somebody else. It shouldn't take this to happen to show people how much support they really do have around them."

Carrying electronic candles, the group sang "Silent Night" with guitar accompaniment as they walked down the street to stand in front of the Rochons' house on Saturday. They sang a few Christmas carols as her family emerged from the house. Santa and his "elves" — children wearing Santa hats — brought the gifts into the house while friends and family hugged and wiped away tears as Lynn Rae's favorite song, "My Favorite Things," played on a loudspeaker.

Lynch said Lynn Rae was someone "who would tell it like it is," but was also "super bubbly, super loving," even while she was dealing with cancer.

"She'd always have a smile on her face. 'Lynn Rae, how are you doing? How are you feeling?' She'd be like, 'I'm good. I don't feel the greatest, but I'm good.' For her to have that positive attitude, even going through all of this — I saw her the Sunday before she passed and 'Oh, I'm just tired' ... (She was a) good-hearted, caring person," Lynch said.