Coach Kay Yow was a visionary. She was the sort of person who had the ability to look into the future and see not just what could be possible, but what would be needed.
As a person of deep faith, she knew the importance of giving thanks “in all things,” even cancer. She was thankful that her visibility allowed her to use her cancer for a great purpose. To do those things she loved to do — give, serve, encourage.
When Coach Yow started the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, almost ten years ago, one of her biggest aspirations for the Fund was that it would be a source of encouragement and hope for other survivors. For all survivors.
Coach Yow not only provided encouragement and hope by her example of a life well lived, but also in very practical ways. By starting the Fund to insure that life saving and life extending research continues.
Frances Strickland lives by the same credo. She embodies Coach Yow’s vision. Like Coach Yow, Frances gives. She serves. She encourages.
For too many of us, cancer hits much too close to home. For Frances, cancer hit home repeatedly. Four years, four cancer diagnoses. Her sister, her brother, her mother. . .and, in year four, Frances. Invasive carcinoma. Stage three breast cancer.
Frances tells that getting the correct diagnosis was not easy. But then again, has anything about cancer ever been easy?
She felt a small lump, nothing that seemed significant. Nothing that appeared too significant on a precautionary mammogram and ultrasound. However, because of her family history, she also had a biopsy, which detected a cancer 7.5 inches in diameter. Since her cancer started in a lactation duct and “spider webbed” out from there, the usual screenings did not catch it.
That it was caught at all is amazing. That it was caught in time is miraculous.
What do you do when you find yourself staring in the face of great adversity?
Frances went to her core, to her faith. For Frances, her faith is a sustaining force. An unwavering power. And, again, faith teaches to give thanks “in all things.” A thankful heart led Frances to find purpose in all things, even the hardest of things.
Like Coach Yow, Frances found purpose in cancer:
- Sharing her courage — the kind of courage that only deep faith can provide; the kind of courage that knows that healing will eventually come; the kind that instills courage in others.
- Making provision for the future needs of others by being the inspiration for and driving force of fundraising events that have raised more than $50,000 for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund over the past few years. Money that will go to support the fight against ALL women’s cancers. Giving hope and encouragement to those who need it most.
Frances uses her story to help others face their own. She is cancer free now. It still isn’t easy. Some of her family was less fortunate. But, Frances’ message is one of courage. In living a life of courageous conviction and action, Frances gives hope to others. Enough hope to find purpose. Enough purpose to give hope.
To donate to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, click here.