Hope changes everything. Hope is everything.
This morning there's been an extraordinary dialog on Twitter (http://twitter.com/jbbc) regarding cancer advocacy, and whether or not those who have not been diagnosed with cancer can truly understand survivors/survivorship. The answer is, OF COURSE! In fact, "co-survivors" -- or the daughters, sons, partners, sisters, brothers, friends -- have some of the strongest voices in the survivorship community. What makes an effective advocate is the ability to listen, to bear witness, and then transform that powerful listening into action.
Thousands of people get up and do this every day for one compelling reason: they want to make some aspect of the cancer experience better for someone else. I hear this time and time again. It never ceases to move me, in the same way I'm moved when families line the roads of a charity rides -- and clap. This speaks to what we are all made of more than anything I know.
We need every voice possible in the national and -- with thanks to the Lance Armstrong Foundation -- global dialog on cancer. The more we know about each other's perspective the better off we all are.
As a co-survivor both of my parents and a much-loved uncle had all died of cancer by the time I was 33. As a co-survivor I felt that bolt of lightning fear when my husband was diagnosed with melanoma the first time, then when it recurred. But as I survivor, what grew in me was hope. The hope that together we can defeat this illness called cancer. The hope that together we can speak up for change. And the best possible hope that -- if anything else -- we can discuss all of this in friendship and love.
Thanks again to Marie O'Connor, for her post on Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer.