Someday, I hope to write a letter to the editor about the new cure for cancer! Wouldn't that be wonderful, and I know that anyone affected by cancer, which sadly is pretty much all of us would agree. With Jim Kelly and his family these past few weeks driving home for all of us the pain a cancer diagnosis, we can't help but recollect our own diagnosis and losses to this dreadful disease.
Watching the Kelly family, I recalled my own diagnosis and then recurrence... and then second recurrence. The feelings all came rushing back; sinking terror, there is no other way for me to describe it... a total lack of hope. I knew nothing about ovarian cancer, other than it was deadly. Somehow, with the skill of the medical team, the unwavering love of my husband and an inner strength (I didn't even know I had), I made it through. Unfortunately for me I recurred, and with it came what my doctor described as post traumatic stress, just like a war veteran the anxiety and terror was back. Although on the outside I tried to appear as if I was handling it well, I just wanted to hide in a fox hole alone.
The only thing that kept me going during that first recurrence were stories of hope. First, second and third hand stories about women, those that had gone through recurrence of cancer and were alive. I sought out those stories, sometimes daily, building up my own reserve of hope. It was the armor I needed to get me through, and I am humbled and indebted for the women who shared those stories with me.
Last year, the organization I co-founded several years after my diagnosis, the WNY Ovarian Cancer Project, was able to raise enough money selling geraniums to supply everywoman newly diagnosed, or with recurrent ovarian cancer here in WNY a 'Comfort & Hope Tote'. These totes are given free of charge to women through their gynecologic oncologists office, and hold not only some essential 'going to chemo therapy' but more importantly a message of hope. The hope that comes from knowing that there are women right here in their own community that are there for them, providing support groups, networking opportunities and an understanding that no one else could possible supply.
This year now through April 24th we are again selling these beautiful geraniums (which arrive just in time for Mother's Day in May) to support our 'Comfort & Hope Tote' program. If you would like to help us with our mission of hope, for women right here in our community you can order online on our website wnyovariancancerproject.com or print out an order form or give us a call at 716-381-5669. We are grateful for the always generous support of the WNY community, because until we find a cure for this dreaded disease, providing Comfort & Hope is essential.
WNY Ovarian Cancer Project, Inc.
501(c) 3 Private Non-Profit