I thought I had life figured out at 24. Great job….great life….sure about my future. Life always has a different plan, though. I learned that. But I had no idea exactly how different the plan for my life would be. Everything is as it should be….but every turn has been a wake up call that you are not in control!
I’ve never been a person to be in the spotlight. I’ve always been a behind the scenes girl. Sure….I’ve sung in church and was forced to be in plays, but other than that…..I’ve been happy to sit on the sidelines and cheer for those who can shine. There was always that secret part of me that thought it would be cool…..but really….it was never me.
Getting diagnosed with cancer put me in a spotlight I didn’t like at the time. I didn’t want anyone to know I was sick or what I was going through. I was extremely worried that everyone could tell by looking at me. But as time went by…..going through treatment and everything….I began to change. I became more open about what I was going through. I didn’t have a clear idea of any mission…..but I felt strongly that people needed to know what I was going through. So they could understand it, be part of it, relate to it. I didn’t know then, but I know now, that this was the beginning of a crazy new life. I can’t say that cancer was a blessing….but something you have to find the good out of a horrible situation.
I started to meet other cancer survivors and those fighting it. I started slowly getting involved. At first it was Relay for Life. I walked every year. I have a ton of survivor pins and shirts. I looked forward to it. As I met more people, I became involved in more things. What stands out most is meeting my friend Denise Bohn. She was like a magnet. I was drawn to her from the moment I heard of her. She is known locally to me, but for anyone else…..Denise was a news anchor for local tv and radio stations. She was diagnosed with breast cancer after me, and was very public about it. I was intrigued by this woman who was so bold to share her story with EVERYONE! She didn’t care that she was a public figure. She wanted to spread awareness and give hope to others. I wanted to know her. It would be years later that I got that chance, and it started a friendship I’m forever grateful for. She invited me to be part of so many things, and the most important to me was the Pink Tie Ball. I started as a committee member and photographer, and then she made me speak. If you knew her…you knew you didn’t say no. She had a way of making you want to be part of it. She changed my life. When I lost her…..I lost a huge part of my heart. She inspired me so much……but I never expected to be walking in her shoes. I was blessed to take on the job she left behind. It was humbling and inspiring. I met some of the most amazing people and became part of some of the most amazing events. I would speak at them, host them, help plan them, support them. I felt like I was all over the place and living a dream life. And it was a dream life! Truly……there are some things I’ve been able to do that have just been amazing. And if not for her encouragement, I would never have started being involved.
This past weekend I hosted the 4th annual Pink Tie Ball. The 2nd without her. Standing at that podium and addressing all the guests still felt like a dream. How is this my life? The reality of this event going on without her hits me hard sometimes. This was her baby….her dream. Sometimes I really feel strange standing in her place. I’ve been told that she was grooming me for this…..getting me prepared for something like this in my life. Maybe she saw potential in me. All I know is…..life is so crazy and twisted. And funny….in weird way. I’ve been able to introduce people I love to the world to share their stories. Like she did for me. I have been able to encourage and support people. Like she did. I will never say I’m like her…..but I’ve been able to honor her life with my actions.
Was there a point to this blog? I’m not sure. I’m coming out of my Pink Tie Ball coma. Life is just crazy sometimes….and after our 2nd time doing this event without Denise….it’s still so emotional. I’m so grateful for the time I had with her, grateful for the person she helped me become, and grateful for having the chance to continue her mission. Even if that means I have to talk in front of people. Maybe my point is…don’t be afraid of what happens, or what can happen. You aren’t in control….there is a destiny for you. Sometimes it’s not what you ever expected…..but it can be what you needed.
p.s. I miss you so much Denise. ❤