During my third round of chemotherapy, there was literally a fire at the hospital. We had to evacuate. There I was, pushing my chemotherapy IV bag out the front door into the heavy heat of that North Carolina summer day. It was hot. It was miserable. And I had cancer. But looking around, all I could see was all the sick people that surrounded me. I felt sorry for them because they were old, and they were frail. But I wasn’t. I was strong, and I was a Marine. I just had this little thing I had to take care of before I could get my life back on track- that perfect life with the loving husband and two little boys- I just had to get better to get back to it. So imagine my surprise when the chairs were brought out for all the cancer patients and I was offered one.
I’m stubborn, and maybe I think I’m stronger than I am- either way, I was not going to let cancer change the way I saw myself. And so at least on that day, the chair was an insult. It was a reminder of my weakness that I had lied to my body about. Because if I took the chair, I’d be saying I was sick. If I turned it down, yes it would probably be stupid, but it would tell the world that cancer WAS NOT going to get the best of me. I don’t know who sat in the chair that was to be mine- I hope it offered them the rest I was too bull-headed to take. But on that day, I decided to stand.
And three years later I continue to take a stand against cancer by raising money and awareness for the 70,000 young adults, just like me, that are diagnosed with cancer every year. And I have but two motivations: to make their cancer experience better than mine was, just as those that went before me paved the way for better treatments that I received; and to ensure that, if they need it, they can have my chair.