Shelley Fitzgerald’s Front Row Experience: Hamilton on Broadway
Shelley, 36, was battling aggressive breast cancer when she fulfilled her dream of seeing Hamilton in NYC, care of the Front Row Foundation, with her husband Scott and host/friend, Rebecca Herzog. Tragically Shelley passed away only 12 short days after her event.
Shelley’s health had started declining a few days before her weekend in NYC, but she decided she would muster through for this opportunity of a lifetime. Read Shelley’s experience in her own words below.
Journal entry by Shelley Fitzgerald — Feb 8, 2019
So, I had a few bad days in a row leading up to NYC and Monday night I was ready to cancel. I called Rebecca and she was great at problem solving and calming me down. We decided to make a decision in the morning. In the morning I decided… I’m Shelley and I don’t give up so even though I knew it would be challenging I was going to do it.
We arrived to NYC on Tuesday at 10… 3 hours later than planned because of delays at the airport. So we didn’t do Times Square as planned. I just went to bed and slept great!
Wednesday was an awesome day! We got up and I was feeling a little off. I pushed through and we ubered over to breakfast. I was relieved because it was a truly handicap accessible van so I didn’t have to get out of my wheelchair. One stressor down. We get to the restaurant (Alice’s Tea Place) which they said was handicap accessible and there were about 10 steps down to get into it. Then I saw a sign that said wheelchair ramp available upon request. So Rebecca went in and made the request and out comes a aluminum ramp. Well it was like an amusement park ride. I’m going down backwards, I think I went off the sides twice but we made it. So my cousin who lives in NYC joined us for breakfast but I was still feeling off and just couldn’t enjoy the food as much as I wanted. What I did have was very good. Then we went to Central Park and walked/wheeled around for about an hour. Then we took another truly handicap accessible Uber back to Times Square. I had said I wouldn’t go into any stores that I could go to at home but Old Navy has a really strong pull. I bought some things for Leah. I couldn’t believe how small the NYC ball is and that people wait all day for it to drop and they can’t even use the bathroom. We then went to lunch at John’s Pizza for NYC style pizza. So good! Scott and Rebecca went slice for slice. I was amazed. Then it was 1:00 so back to the hotel to get ready for the show. Then it was time! We sat in the 3rd row center. At 2:03 the show started and Aaron Burr took the stage and that was the first time I cried. I couldn’t believe I was actually at Broadway watching Hamilton. It was amazing. The show exceeded my expectations and they were pretty high. I loved every minute of the show, cried 4 times and was completely immersed in it. We then headed to Carmine’s for dinner with more of my family (6 in total). It was Italian family style. I have never seen so much food. We started with a huge salad. Then huge platters of chicken parm, spaghetti and meatballs, penne in a vodka sauce, penne with broccoli in a garlic sauce. Then Rebecca preordered a huge dessert so we had to eat that.
I was stuffed all the way throughout the airplane ride. I said my hard goodbyes and then it was off to the airport. We got home at 1:00.
The next day I was wiped out. I slept literally all day. Had no appetite. But it was 100% worth it.
My body is definitely starting to fail and it is very frustrating.
Prayers for comfort and for peace for my family and loved ones.
Love all of you!