It would be easy for me to sit here and tell you how much I hate cancer, how it ruined my life, ruined my body and has left us still paying bills. I’m sure you’ve seen the bald-heads, frail bodies, and weakened spirits, but there’s something that you don’t know. Cancer also gave me one of the greatest gifts I received in my life... sisters.
Before cancer, I had never paid attention to ribbons, bald-heads, or relays. I didn’t even like the color pink. I wasn’t a selfish person; it just wasn’t part of my world. After cancer, my eyes became drawn to it.
The first time I realized it was at a PTA meeting. I sat there with a hat covering my bald-head and my eyes were drawn to a young woman with a pink camouflage scarf on her head. After the meeting, I grabbed my husband’s hand and dragged him along because I just “had to meet her.” I asked her about her scarf and baldness in which she proceeded to tell me about her leukemia, her young daughter who was staying at her grandparents house as she traveled to Richmond to receive free treatment because she had no insurance from her part-time job. We parted sisters, with a hug and promise to each other to fight hard for our children, for ourselves.
Next, I met Trudy at a rummage sale. This woman had a light in her eyes and a fiery spirit that made it clear she was going to win this battle. I had on my pink ribbon hat, she had on her pink shirt with a scarf on her head and we made a beeline towards each other. We spent the next half hour talking while others shopped all around us. We would later meet at the Relay For Life and vowed to meet each year to check in on each other. We met the next year and Trudy hugged me so tight and was so happy for how well I handled treatment and how well I continued to do. The next year, I went to find her, but found her sister instead. Trudy almost made it that year but the cancer spread throughout her body and she lost her battle. Instead of hugging my friend that night, I stood in front of one of her luminaries and cried my goodbye to my sister with the bright eyes and fiery spirit.
Then today while at a soccer game, a woman with a pink hat and pink shirt approached me. She tells me that she asked someone about the pink ribbon socks that my son’s team was wearing and she was pointed in my direction. She reached out her hand then pulls it back and asks, “Are you...well I heard you...” She stopped talking and I teared up. That quick, the bond was formed. She sat down beside me and we spent the entire second half sharing our stories. She showed me her newly growing hair and whispered, “You give me hope.” Through cheers, screaming, a goal and stops, we talked, we hoped, we dreamed. When the final whistle blew we both stood. We hugged and introduced ourselves just as we said goodbye. As she walks away I smile and though my son’s soccer team may have won the game, my victory was a little sweeter. I met another sister today.