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Patrick Swayze remembered: the star's friends and family mark his anniversary

13 SEPTEMBER 2010

It's hard to believe that a year has gone by since Patrick Swayze passed away.

Since then, his friends and family have had to adjust to life without the star, left only with cherished memories of one of Hollywood's most beloved actors.

For his wife of 34-years, that extraordinary loss is something she must face every day.

But as she approaches the anniversary of his death, Lisa Niemi (pictured with Patrick in 2007) has found a light at the end of the tunnel.

"I know he wanted me to be OK," the former dancer, 54, has said. "And I am stronger now.

"The fact that I have had some good days definitely gives me hope that I can have more."

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It hasn't been easy. In a special interview in honour of Patrick - who died on September 14 aged 57 - the blonde actress said she found herself following the long-standing tradition of texting her husband earlier this year.

 Recalling the moment in July as she prepared to board a flight, Lisa revealed: "I just put what I always did: 'I love you'. And then I cried for a little bit to myself.

"It (the text message) didn’t come back. So either somewhere out there he received it, or someone's going, 'Somebody loves me!' And you know what? I figured it was a win-win situation."

But now looking to the future with renewed strength, Lisa very recently took part in the 2010 Stand Up 2 Cancer telethon, following in the footsteps of her spouse, who was involved in the first event back in 2008.

Taking to the stage (pictured below), she told the crowd: "Patrick appeared on the first Stand Up 2 Cancer show and bravely talked for the first time in public about his own battle with pancreatic cancer.

"It is a moment I will not soon forget," she added, before her late husband televised plea to "stand up to cancer" was poignantly replayed.

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Lisa isn't the only one honouring Patrick's memory. Having touched so many people with his warm and gentle spirit, he is also being remembered by those he encountered in his professional life.

Carrying on his fancy-footed legacy is Jennifer Grey, his co-star in the 1987 smash film, Dirty Dancing.

The 50-year-old actress - who once called Patrick "a real cowboy with a tender heart" - is competing in this year's Dancing with the Stars.

And the man she described as "a rare and beautiful combination of raw masculinity and amazing grace" will no doubt be at the forefront of her mind - recently Jennifer faced her own cancer battle after a lump was found in her neck, but she's thankfully now been given a clean bill of health.

Also keeping Dirty Dancing, and Patrick, in the spotlight is Franke Previte – writer of the film's seminal track, I've Had The Time Of My Life.

He is releasing a demo version of the song as a digital download, with part of the proceeds going to the Patrick Swayze Pancreas Cancer Research Fund.

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Speaking about the reasons behind the re-launch, Franke said: "What can I do to keep awareness of this film and this great guy? Forty-eight million people bought that record, so I figure we might be able to raise some money for cancer research with my demo."

And it seems Patrick's other big blockbuster, Ghost, is set to make some headlines too.

It has also been announced that a musical adaptation of the movie is in the pipeline, thanks to screenplay writer Bruce Joel Rubin, who won the 1991 Oscar for his work on the supernatural romance.

He has just signed a deal for seven-week tryout in Manchester with a view to taking it to the West End.

Set to debut in March 2011, the production follows the news that director Taro Otani will helm a Japanese remake of the film, which also starred Demi Moore.

Click here to see Patrick Swayze: a life in pictures.

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