Giving Hope…

Christmas. New Year’s. Birthdays. All special days — days that should fill us with the best emotions life has to offer. Emotions that cannot be bought or quantified. Emotions as essential to us as life itself – peace, joy, and hope—especially hope.

For Andrea Eason, there was a time when the peace of Christmas was taken by the anxiety of test results. The celebration of New Year’s was taken by the raw emotion of a breast cancer diagnosis. The joy of another birthday was taken by an upcoming mastectomy.

Cancer has taken too much. Cancer often takes our sense of peace, our joy. But through the very worst, hope prevails. Hope is stronger than cancer. Even when cancer takes, hope continues to give.

Knowing Andrea is to receive the gift of hope.

In Andrea, other women see a fighter. Someone who refused to think the worst, but chose to live at her best. Someone who battled breast cancer as a single mother while balancing her career as a partner in her accounting firm. Andrea encourages women to do their own research, investigate their best options, and make decisions based on what is best for them. She is someone who handles the uncertainties of life, particularly life with cancer, with grace and courage.

Coach Yow gave us a similar example, fighting cancer with the shield of hope and a sword of grace. She was someone who refused to forfeit the joys of life, even in the most difficult of times, to the unrelenting power of cancer.

In these women we see all that is possible. We see the power of the human spirit and the best that exists in each of us. Watching these incredible women not just survive, but live — this gives us strength, this gives us hope.

And we know, hope cannot be taken. Hope can only be given.

Of course, we know that each diagnosis is different. Each journey contains its own challenges, presents its own battles. Each story starts and ends in a slightly different place. But each journey has the opportunity to generate hope. The kind of hope that can sustain others through the extremes of life. Andrea’s life with cancer generates hope. Long-lasting hope.

There are over 15 million people in the United States living with cancer today. They give us hope. They give each other hope.

Andrea Eason does not believe that her journey with cancer is particularly remarkable. But it is. Andrea’s journey gives hope to others. And giving hope is beyond remarkable – it is extraordinary.

 

To donate to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, click here.

Using Cancer…

Some of the things Cindy Alexander says belong on a shirt or a poster. Better yet, they belong in a song.

Cindy is an artist. She uses her music to raise money for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and awareness for ALL women’s cancers. She is on tour this summer and donating the proceeds to the Fund. But it is bigger than that. Way bigger.

Cindy is the mother of two 8 year old children. She is teaching them how to use their passions for a cause. She is teaching them how to give. Actually, she is teaching a lot of people how to give.

Her journey with cancer started when her kids were young. They were too young for a lot of things. Too young to understand cancer.

Then again, are any of us “old enough” to understand cancer?

In talking with Cindy, it becomes apparent that her intention is not at all to understand cancer. It is to use cancer. And she is.

She is using cancer as a platform to give back. She is using cancer to teach others how to do the same.

She is using cancer as a reason not simply to exist, but to live and to thrive.

She is using cancer as a reminder of her own mortality. Not in a scary way, but in a way of immense gratitude. Gratitude for each day, each moment.

She is using cancer to show her kids that making a life is more important than making a living.

One day her kids will understand that when they were 4 years old, their mom faced a scary opponent. They will understand why their mom goes for check-ups less and less frequently. They will understand why each of those follow-up scans ignites fear. But they will understand that their mom conquers fear.

Cindy Alexander never met Coach Yow. She wishes she had. She says she understands from what she reads that Coach Yow had “giving energy.”

Yes. Yes, she did.

The giving energy is something Cindy recognizes, because, she too, has it. If cancer is hard to understand, giving is not. The great thing about the gifts that Cindy and Coach Yow have given is that they can never be taken away. They will always remain.

The unfortunate reality that we all understand is that cancer takes too much away from us. But, the victory is in those people, like Coach Yow and Cindy, who have “giving energy.” They give us hope and hope cannot be taken away.

 

To donate to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, click here.

For more information on Cindy Alexander or to check out upcoming tour dates, click here.

Photo credit Don Adkins.