I was inspired to write this post because of my Facebook memories. I really love the feature, seeing all the posts over the years without having to search and scroll through endless posts. This particular one I’ve done several times on the 4th of July, change my profile pic. It’s an old picture, and I do it more often than not, just because of the theme. Obviously it’s the picture with my post, but there is a story behind it…..of course!
This picture is from my first Relay for Life as a cancer fighter. I was going through treatment at the time, and I had joined my oncology office’s relay team….Soles for Souls. I loved my oncology team, they felt like family. But this wasn’t my first Relay….it was my 2nd. My first time was the year before. My boyfriend at the time, now my husband, and I were part of our church team.
I made the decision to join the team after meeting a new client to me. I worked for the state DHS office, and this family came in because they needed extra help. The mom/wife had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and they were needing more help than their insurance and finances could offer. For some reason I was very drawn to this family. I had a heart for many of my clients, but this family really got to me. I helped them find all the resources they could use and talked often with them about her treatment progress and prognosis. This was a case I had during my first year on the job, and I had not yet been hardened by the job. I felt a special connection to the cause that year…..so I took part in the Relay. Later that year, when I received my own diagnosis……I had the chance to meet with that same family for a routine review. When I broke the news to them….we all cried together. It was surreal that I had such a connection to this woman, and then was faced with the same battle.
That next year when I decided to fully participate in Relay….this beloved client had lost her battle. I was devastated, heartbroken, and terrified. She was the only client I attended a funeral for……and eventually I lost touch with her family as their needs changed. I have always had a special place in my heart for her, and I wonder about her family often.
Seeing that picture makes me remember that time and how some people are placed in your life for a reason. I don’t know if knowing her made me more aware of myself when I discovered my tumor? Maybe I was more willing to see a doctor for it rather than ignore it because I was too young. I’m not sure…..but I do know the profound impact she had on me and I’m forever grateful for that. She was a kind person with a compassionate heart. She comforted me in the beginning of my journey as hers was coming to an end.
That first year I walked in Relay during the survivor lap…..I didn’t walk alone. I walked in her memory….and promised myself that I would always support those going through this horrible disease. It’s an incredible feeling to have walked with so many people that survived cancer….and be with people all remembering those we have lost.
Rest in peace J.