Breast Cancer, 13 year Survivor
Founder of the Happily Ever After League (HEAL) and the HEAling House
1. What was the darkest moment in your cancer journey?
The darkest moment in my cancer journey was the day I received the news of my diagnosis. The news came from my doctor in a phone call as I was leaving my uncle’s funeral and on the way to his celebration of life. Having to share this news with my husband, parents and family when I got there was such a sad and difficult thing for me to do.
2. If you could go back and talk to your pre-cancer self, what would you say?
I would tell her to worry less, live in the moment and to let go of things that are out of her control. I would tell her to remember that this is a process and you will not feel this way forever, time is the best way to heal the body, mind and spirit. Lastly, I would want my pre-cancer self to remember that the mind is the most important tool in cancer recovery.
3. How has cancer changed you?
Cancer has taught me to not sweat the small stuff. Going through a cancer journey gave me a new appreciation for life. I now see the world through new eyes. This journey made me realize that every day is a gift.
4. What motivated you to pursue your 2nd Act?
I was inspired for my 2nd Act in a brief phone call with a mom, Janet, who was also recovering from cancer. Janet was new to Arizona and a mutual friend had put us in touch. Janet was a bit behind me in her cancer journey, so I would check in with her from time to time. One particular day when I called her she told me she was grateful that her last chemo treatment was the next day and happy to put this chapter to a close. She said she could not talk long and the next nine words she said to me changed the course of my life forever: she had to go because, “I have to take my son to hockey practice.” In this moment, these words made me realize that cancer is never welcome at any age; but being a mom with cancer comes with a whole different set of obstacles.
I knew this to be true from my own experience of cancer recovery. The youngest of my three children was only one year in age at the time. My conversation with Janet made me realize I wanted to provide support to mothers recovering from cancer. The Happily Ever After League (HEAL) became a reality in July of 2004!
5. What has been your brightest moment in your 2nd Act?
The brightest moment of my 2nd Act comes not only from the support that moms receive at the time of their most immediate need, but also from the volunteer experience at our HEALing House. I often say that the volunteers at our house events get back much more then they give. A heart of service can not be taught or explained; is must be felt and experienced. For me this is the greatest gift.
6. Where do you see yourself going from here?
My hope is to continue to serve those in need to the best of my abilities. I want to be a bright light to others and even pursued a Life Coaching certification to compliment the work I do with HEAL. We are initiating new programs at the HEALing House to be of continuous and ongoing support. We are all very excited about our newest program, Ever After-Life Beyond Cancer. Our HEAL team is anxious to see how this will grow and serve the cancer community.
7.What’s your favorite quote and how does it fit into your 2nd Act?
My favorite quote is from Edmund Lee, “Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and the thinkers, but most of all surround yourself with those who see greatness within you, even when you don’t see if yourself.”
This perfectly sums up all of the support that I’ve received in my 2nd Act and founding HEAL. It has absolutely been one of my greatest labors of love on many levels.