"The past few weeks have been particularly difficult, and it was hard to put my thoughts in writing. I will say, however, that reflecting on the amazing gift I was given by you and your foundation never fails to change my day. Gratitude is the antidote to everything negative that comes with cancer. Our phone conversation, which validated my experience and was full of compassion, was a blessing. Granting me financial assistance for unpaid medical bills was an unexpected and overwhelming act of generosity that I will never forget.
I was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer at 48 years old. I had no risk factors and never had so much as a stitch. We were coming out of a very trying financial downturn, and I was looking to start my life again...I never expected a battle for my life. A double mastectomy, chemo, radiation, hormone drugs, more surgery... I am a mother and there is no option but to agree to the fight. No one should also have to fight insurance companies, health care providers or collection agencies as well. My most angelic friend, from day one, would gently remind me that "all is gift." Some moments the gifts were glaring. My own mom, my caretaker, saw me through treatment with grace and strength. My amazing friends who showed up without ever being asked. An outpouring of support from family members near and far, old friends...even my local library staff and pharmacist at ShopRite! I could write endlessly about so many instances of grace I was granted by strangers - fellow patients, hospital and medical staff in particular, but many others whose words or deeds simply got me through the day.
Truth be told, there were many moments of despair, and profound grief over who stepped out instead of up. I would be lying if I said that breast cancer in and of itself is anything but a plight no woman should ever face. And then I remember that I met you and learned of your Mom and your mission. And you took what you could off my plate, and had a moment of profound joy with me in the middle of a day sandwiched with overdue mortgages and doctors appointments. And the journey made sense.
You are an inspiration, and I will pass on your amazing work with the Mama Mare Breast Cancer Foundation, and our story, at every opportunity. It speaks to all that is good and right in the universe. Cancer can't touch that!"