When Breast Cancer Changes Things
When I think about experiences that have altered the way I look at life, a number of memories come to me. The most recent was the unexpected death of my little sister. I never expected to lose her when she was just weeks past her 23rd birthday. Another is the death of my grandmother and the long journey we all went on with her. A third is the death of one of my best friend’s mother when I was just a teenager. I still remember the day when she finally lost her battle with cancer.
Although I was only a teenager, I saw the struggles my friend’s family went through. It changed the way I looked at my own family. I saw two young children lose their mother. I saw a man lose the love of his life. That changes a person, no matter how old or young.
A Mother Giving It All
My friend’s mom, K, spent many years battling cancer. For almost as long as I knew her, I knew about her battle. Growing up, I was involved in children’s theater and we were all extremely close. It was like having an amazing extended family. We spent the night at each other’s houses and shared rides all over town. Many of us went to school together as well. We were one large family. Maybe it we weren’t related by blood, but we were related by the time we spent together.
I remember one afternoon when all of the kids were hanging out before rehearsal for the show we were doing. We were talking about K and how we all wanted to do something to help. The older kids knew that something like cancer meant hospital bills and other expenses. We didn’t know what we could do but we wanted to do something.
We were theater kids. We loved to sing, dance, and act. So we decided we would do a benefit show for her. We would ask local businesses for donations for a silent auction and sell tickets to our benefit show.
Weeks later, K came to watch one of our rehearsals. It was extremely emotional and in the end we all end up arguing a bit because it matter so much. She later wrote us a letter that I still have. It spoke of her appreciation of all of our love but reminded us that she wanted us to have fun doing what we love.
Even when she was nearing the end of her battle with cancer, she was still a mother to all of us. She was encouraging us just as a mother should.
Cancer Changes Lives
The night of the benefit came and went. We all sang and danced our hearts out. At the end of the night I believe we raised over $3,000 for K and her family. For a group of kids between the ages of 6 and 15, it was an effort that made it difficult to find a dry eye in the auditorium that night.
That night as well as the last time I visited K in the hospital have stuck with me for over 15 years. Those memories have made me appreciate every single day with my own family. I cannot imagine having to leave W without a mother when he was just 7 years old. I cannot imagine losing J when we are in the prime of our lives.
Cancer truly changes lives and reaches far beyond those fighting the battle.
Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is the American Cancer Society’s nationwide series of walking events to raise funds and awareness to end breast cancer.
How has breast cancer touched your friends, your family… your life?
Formula Mom Disclosure: Compensation was provided by the American Cancer Society (ACS) via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of the American Cancer Society (ACS).