Brought attention to #WorldCancerDay by wearing green to represent Lymphoma and took a #KissCancerGoodbye photo with my Honored Hero, my mother. To end the night I was given one of the #LightTheNight Volunteers of the Year awards from the Suncoast Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society . I am so honored to be a volunteer for this great organization whose mission is to assist patients and cure blood cancers.
As I sit closing out the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and the 50th Anniversary of the Selma march, I can only think of one word “HOPE.”
Last week I had the opportunity of facilitating my first cancer support group that was filled with men and women of all ages in various stages of their cancer fight and their caregivers. Our theme for that night was “HOPE.” I was inspired by their strength and moved by their individual stories. I was inspired by the group of people who wanted a place to belong, to share, cry, laugh, and learn. During that group I brought up the quote by the late Stuart Scott:
The members of this group were also inspired by his words and encouraged to keep going even as some faced upcoming medical procedures. I left that group feeling honored that they are allowing me to facilitate that group.
Throughout last week and this weekend their message of hope even facing life threatening and/or terminal illness has remained with me. This weekend has been filled with messages of hope as the country celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Selma March and the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. The people who marched 50th years ago with Dr. King did so on hope. Hope for a better future. Hope for equality. Dr. King stated:
I would agree. Nothing can be accomplished without hope no matter the situation, circumstances, or person. We have to have hope that things will change. Hope that we will accomplish our goals. Hope that we will survive. This does not mean that we do not walk out principles and steps to do what needs to be done. Hope is an action. Having hope allows us to wake up every morning and get out of bed. Hope allows us to push through the obstacles that come our way. Hope allows us to respond with love when those around us and close to us hurt us. Hope allows us to continue mentoring and teaching even when it seems like no one is listening or paying attention.
Today I rest in this verse and pray this prayer over all who reads this blog:
May we all continue to have hope as we move through the journey of life no matter what obstacles may come our way. Amen.
Tomorrow, February 4th, is World Cancer Day! This year’s initiative is about encouraging people to talk about cancer, to learn early warning signs and early detection, engaging in prevention behaviors, and fighting for people’s rights to have effective treatments on equal terms. The American Cancer Society has teamed up with Chevrolet this year to for cancer awareness. For every Facebook and Twitter profile that is “Purpled Out” on 2/4/14, Chevrolet will donate $1 to the American Cancer Society. Visit http://www.chevrolet.com/purple-roads-world-cancer-day.html to PURPLE OUT your profile. There are also events taking place across the world that you can participate in on tomorrow. Visit the World Cancer Day website at http://www.worldcancerday.org/events-map to find events in your area. To find out other ways to help or donate, visit the American Cancer Society at http://www.cancer.org. I have already changed both of my profiles over and will wear purple tomorrow. Join me in making a difference.
So I did it! Last Sunday, 11/24/13 I completed my first half marathon! It was a great race and I had lot of support. The weekend started with me volunteering at the expo getting to meet wonderful people and talk about Team In Training. On Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the Inspirational Luncheon with my mother and a friend. There was a remarkable young lady there who has Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and has continued to dance at Busch Gardens throughout her treatment (she is pictured with my mother). I was so inspired by both of these ladies. On Sunday, I completed the race. While making going through Mission Mile, my friend was able to snap a picture of me next to my mother’s poster. It was great to see her face along the route to remind me of why I was doing the race. I definitely had my doubts during the race. Passing mile 5 I realized that I had gone further than I did two years ago when I got hurt right before the half marathon I was training for at that time. My friend ended up going ahead to try and finish in the time she wanted to complete for a personal best. I was so grateful for all the training she has done with me and wished her well. Around mile 7, one of the wonderful Team In Training Coaches joined me and another team member to bring it home. As we walked along, the other coaches joined us. As we passed mile 11 we cheered because that was the longest distance I had every walked at one time ever. The last two miles were hard, but I had a great team of encouragers. As we round the corner to the finish line, my team mate encouraged me to run across with her and I did. Then I saw my mother and ran straight into her arms. As I cried hugging her, I felt the relief of the past two years of her treatment leave. We were both victorious! Her for completing her treatment and being in remission, and me for training and completing this race as my way of fighting her illness. It was one of the greatest moments of my life. I am so proud of both of us. I encourage anyone who wants to help raise money and train to start with Team In Training (www.teamintraining.org). I could not have accomplished this goal without them, my mother, and my good friend Raquel! I have rested this entire week, but I am ready to start training for another cause. Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis is up next!
I have been trying to think about what I wanted to write about all day. Over the past couple of weeks several topics have come across my mind such as domestic violence after hearing about the young woman”s husband who posted a picture of her on Facebook after he killed her. Or about not giving up when obstacles get in your way due to my own latest personal battle. But within the last 30 minutes the subject of “A Couple of Minutes of Kindness” came my way after finding out about a co-worker who died today. I only worked with her for about a week before she got sick and went into the hospital. What was remarkable was in that short period of time she brought so much joy to our department and was full of wisdom. When she went into the hospital, for what we thought would be a short amount of time, I reached out and called her on a daily basis. She would make statements about how she loved hearing from me in those brief couple of minutes and how it brought her joy. At one point I was told that I was spending too much time calling her when there was other things I needed to be doing. I refused to accept that and did not listen. I felt that if I was in the hospital I would appreciate someone checking on me even if I had known them for a short time. I refuse to be too busy for a couple of minute of kindness. We got word last week that she was not coming back to the facility, but that did not deter me from reaching out. I called and sent a text. I received a text back that she was going to call me back, but never heard from her. When I got the call this evening my heart became heavy. She was a remarkable woman who in a short time touched my life with her tenacity and laughter. You know God uses you in ways that you don’t always realize. He used me to bring a couple of minutes of light into her day not knowing that He was preparing to bring her home with Him. I am happy that I listened and continued to make contact when I was told that I was too busy. You never know what small act maybe one of the last small acts a person receives.
Cancer stole another angel today. 1 in 13 people will develop lung cancer in the United States with 10-15% being non-smokers. Two-thirds of these are women who have never smoked. There are many causes and risk factors associated with lung cancer. There are many treatments out there if it is caught early. Please see your doctor if you sense something is wrong. If you are not happy with the first doctor’s diagnosis, get a second opinion. We have to stop being scared of doctors and of being diagnosed. We have to take responsibility for our health.
Please join me in praying for the family and friends of my co-worker. Tomorrow find some small act of kindness to do in honor of her memory. May you Rest In Peace Delores Holmes!
Please make a donation in support of my efforts with Team In Training and help advance the research for cures. You can access my fundraiser page at http://pages.teamintraining.org/sun/StPeteHf13/drshanwalks. Furthermore, I would like to invite family and friends to join me in St. Petersburg that day after the race to celebrate a survivor, my mother Shirley Dorsey-Davis. Feel free to contact me for more details.