Finding hope

AT RANDOM: Hope is growing among those battling cancer

Cancer kills – it’s a phrase many of us can unfortunately relate to. That term has been widely used for the simple fact that the disease can prove deadly.

But it is also being proven wrong day after day by survivors.

More and more people are beating the odds, and rightfully so there appears to be a lot more hope surrounding the disease.

That is exactly what I’ve seen in a number of people battling the disease. Maybe not so much on the days where chemotherapy or radiation have sucked the life out of them, but on their ‘good’ days, the survivors, and determined-to-be survivors, are a source of inspiration.

Obviously cancer can kill, and for some the diagnosis can leave them with little or no hope. Some of us have unfortunately seen that side of the disease, which despite all the support in the world, the person diagnosed loses their battle.

But the statistics are changing, medical advancements are being made and support is growing for those who must face the disease.

The fact that our province has some of the best survival rates for women with breast cancer (91.8 per cent) is one sign of hope.

Therefore despite all the nastiness associated with cancer, it seems more and more people are charging forward in the face of the disease, no matter the odds.

When you meet one of these determined individuals, whatever form of cancer they may be battling, their courageous attitude is overwhelming.

These survivors are an inspiration. They almost always carry a smile with them, they are openly optimistic, and despite all they are going through or have previously endured, they are some of the most giving and caring people out there.

They are soldiers.

How, you might ask, can someone who is battling a killer disease be so optimistic?

Well I suppose, when you look at it that way, all they have left is hope.

But there is also comfort for patients who hear stories of those who battled the disease before them, and beat it.

That gives them hope.

And there is reassurance from the support of family and friends.

That gives them hope.

There are countless events, from the Relay for Life and Run for the Cure to charity dances, auctions and more all working towards a future without cancer.

That gives them hope.

And they spread hope among others.

After taking part in the recent Run for the Cure, the amount of hope and optimism among the hundreds of participants (many cancer survivors and even some currently battling the disease) was astounding.

There were no tears of sorrow or pity. There were only tears of joy and smiles.

Seeing all that positivity was encouraging.

And it gave me hope.

One woman in particular is, always has been, and always will be, an inspiration to me.

Among the lengthy list of trials and tribulations she has overcome, she battled ovarian cancer.

Despite being the most fatal and overlooked women’s cancer (according to Ovarian Cancer Canada), she won that battle.

Three years later, as I watched her walk the five-kilometre Run for the Cure a few weeks ago, my heart swelled with pride.

That is my mom, and she gives me hope.

Last month (September) was ovarian cancer awareness month, this month (October) is breast cancer awareness month.

November is both lung cancer awareness month and pancreatic cancer awareness month.

So to all those who are bravely battling the disease, whether they are one day, one year or 10-year survivors, let every day be a day of hope for you and your loved ones.