A long time ago, there was a little girl who grew in a white house on a street in a typical suburd. The street had an archway of tall proud maple trees that would frame the road - in winter the tress would stand like bare skeletons with sprinklings of snow and in the fall they would be covered in the most amazing reds and oranges. She grew up surrounded by love and was fortunate enough to never really know what it was like to feel sad, to suffer or be invisibible to those around her. She had parents who believed in her and enabled her to do everything she set her mind to. She had siblings who she looked up to and tried to copy all the time. She even had a lovely dog who was loyal and provided extra comfort on days when she needed alittle bit more. It was a life filled with colour and happiness. I don´t think this little girl quite understood how lucky she was at the time and perhaps thought that this was the way everyone lived. Because how else can you know at such a young age? Your life is really all you know. As she grew up, she became disciplined and motivated to succeed is all avenues of her life. She made friends easily and used her sense of humour to make life just alittle bit funnier. As she got taller, she also discovered that she had lots to learn and not all her qualities were perfect. This was when she really started evolving as a person. As the years passed, she learned more and more about what she wanted out of life and also the things she didn´t. She wasn´t afraid to take chances and close her eyes and just jump. Sometimes she hit hard ground, hurting herself in the process, other times that leap took her to the most amazing places. And with every step, a lesson was learned. Her taste for adventure eventually took her across the world to start a new life that she had always dreamed of doing. She also left behind some very special people too that made some days tougher then others. Life on the other side of the ocean was exciting but scary. While finding her feet, she stumbled quite a few times but never left an experience behind without taking something valuable from it. She learnt so much about relationships - what she wanted, what she didn´t, how hard it can be to change, how scary situations can get. Unfortunately, she also got her first taste of tragedy and sorrow, losing one of the most important people in her whole world. It was sudden, it was horrific and it changed her forever. Life didn´t always listen to what we wanted and nothing could ever be taken for granted again.
True love took her by surprise on one very ordinary day. It didn´t take flight immediately but rather took some twists and turns before it found its way forward. But when it happened, for the first time she knew. She really never looked back after that and everything else fell into place. All the things she had been afraid of and not ready for suddenly were things she wanted.That fearlessness and sense of adventure kicked in again and she packed up her life and headed to a new place, a new life. It was here that she built a family with her other half and the most beautiful little girl joined this world. Again, she changed through motherhood into an even better version of herself. She loved being a mom and loved this little person more then she could have ever imagined. Having this little angel set up a chain reaction of events that took her all the way to today. Still to this day, she believes that this baby saved her life and that the darkness in her that was growing would have gone too far. It keeps her going, this knowledge of how much worse things could be. But this little girl who became a woman, then a mother and finally a wife also became a cancer patient. That little girl who collected piles of leaves in the backyard and jumped off the deck into the soft mountains of yellow and red, never imagined things would be the way they are now. Fighting for her life - the endless hospital visits, operations, treatments, constant pain, and learning to live with all this uncertainty - was never part of the plan. Being part of this group of pink soldiers at such a young age still feels so strange and foreign, like it is actually happening to someone else. Not her. But the scars, the physical limitations, the cabinet overflowing with pill bottles reminds her of the truth. Her fear over what will happen tomorrow reminds her of the truth. Instead of thinking of one day buying a cottage in the mountains, of making it to the top level of her career, of growing her family - all she can think about is being given the chance to stay alive. She sees now that it isn´t about all that extra stuff around you that makes your life whole, it is actually being there to participate and be in the moment that means everything. Like a wise person once said, you can´t take all of this stuff with you when you go. All she wants is to be there to watch the people she loves grow up just as she did - surrounded by love, happiness and a few piles of leaves to dive into!
I am the face of breast cancer. You don´t need to be too young, too wealthy, too healthy or too fearless to be called to the pink army. Empower yourself and know your body. I never want to lecture anyone or make anyone afraid but if my experience can save someone else from living my reality then I have succeeded. We never know where the road will go so make sure you don´t always just look ahead at what´s coming but also look at what is happening right now.