Survivorship is defined by the dictionary as the state of being a survivor of life in long-term survivorship (five years or longer) after experiencing a life threatening illness (i.e. cancer). I have come to learn that its meaning is a little bit different than this. The first time my mom, sister, and I did the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure was in 2009. It was about 3 months after my mom’s breast cancer diagnosis. At the race, my mom did not do any of the special things with the survivors because she said she didn’t feel like a survivor yet. I know now that even though she hadn’t had her surgeries yet, she was a survivor from the day she was diagnosed.
Despite being too humble to take the title of ‘survivor’ at first my mom had an attitude of ‘when can things go back to normal?’ from the beginning. She constantly bugged doctors asking how soon she could go back to work after surgeries. She had that ‘half full’ mentality that kept our family with our heads up despite everything that was going on.
Since the becoming connected with the Ulman Cancer Fund I have learned the importance of instilling this attitude in others. You have to think of yourself as a survivor from day one and never give up hope. I’ve learned survivorship doesn’t happen just after cancer is completely gone from your body- although that is what you are fighting for. You are a survivor is you embrace each day with hope and optimism.
I feel so lucky to be apart of an organization whose mission is to instill hope into young adult. This year, my mom walked as a survivor at the Susan G. Komen race and I am so proud of her.