Relay for Life is something I hold close to my heart and each year I try to do my part to help raise money and awareness for the American Cancer Society. Whether you’re 5, 20, 78 or 100 there is no right or wrong way to learn about cancer. Cancer is a word, a disease, a demon that continues to find ways into my life and challenges me to believe in hope..but I still fight everyday for a cure.
When I was five there was a little boy in my class named James Lane who stopped coming to school one day. Our teacher had explained to us that he had passed away of brain cancer when he was only six. I’m still reminded of him every time I see a birdhouse.
When I was eight my grandpas long battle with lung cancer came to an end. I began to understand that cancer affected different people, at different ages.
When I was fifteen my best friend called me barely able to talk because her mom died from lung cancer…two weeks after her godmother died from the same disease.
This year I found out that a girl I went to school with and sang in the middle school choir with was diagnosed at the age of 22 with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I am mesmerized everyday by her strength and beauty.
The time cancer affected me the most was when I was nine. That’s when I learned that my own mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and at the age of 41 she was about to go through something no one should ever have to go through.
I learned through the years that cancer shows no boundaries; it has no pity on the lives it takes, or the ones who are affected by it. Like me, and most the people in this world, we didn’t chose for this to happen to us. But for some reason cancer choose us. As bad as it was I learned something about myself: that I could go through something like that and survive. And there is nothing more powerful than realizing the amount of strength you possess and all that you can gain through hardships.
My life changed that day and 12 years later my life still continues to be affected by my mothers illness. Cancer doesn’t just fade away once it takes the life of someone you love. There are things that trigger my memories good or bad so I ask of you to be mindful..you never know what someone has gone through.
I may have forgotten my moms voice, and the way she smelled..but I’ll never forget how she ate rice cakes with peanut butter every morning, or the amount of times she sung Baby Bumblebee to me. It’s the little things I hold onto the most. It’s the little things that keep my memories of her together. Not a day goes by where I don’t try to find traces of her in the world around me in hopes of bringing you back.