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What cancer CAN do

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My mom and I walked in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Santa Barbara this year. It was a long 39.3 mile weekend. And even though we’ve walked it in the past, the journey of this last year –  my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer, and then re-diagnosed with breast cancer after 18 years of remission – this year was more unique and special. A true mother-daughter bonding experience. This year’s walk was a celebration. Step by step, mile by mile, we celebrated life, we walked until we thought we couldn’t walk any more, and then we kept walking.  After all, there is a lot to be celebrating in our lives.

We walked this weekend, tied up with the ribbons of pink that laced all around Santa Barbara. We walked with survivors, with those walking in celebration of lives, and those walking in  memory of lives lost. We walked with those who’ve fought with cancer in their bodies taking in chemo and radiation through it all, and  we walked with those who’ve been touched by it and fought it in their hearts.. We all walked because we can – because we can’t NOT walk.

I have a “cancer” bracelet. I wear it every day.  It’s a reminder of what cancer CAN NOT do. It has inscribed on it: can’t corrode faith, shatter hope, destroy peace, or silence courage. Cancer can’t invade the soul it can’t steal eternal life nor conquer the spirit. Cancer can’t corrode love or kill friendship, it can’t suppress the memories we hold dear to us.  I wear it to remind me that my life has been touched by cancer, not just once, but several times, and my life is still full of so much more than what cancer can bring – that there is more to life than dealing with or living with a disease. So as I walked I thought about it, and I realized that while there is so much that cancer CAN NOT do. There really is a lot that cancer CAN do.

While in the darkness that is diagnosis, cancer can help  spring to life that hope to live. It can inspire someone to live life to it’s fullest, to take chances, to walk 39.3 miles because she can. Cancer can ignite the faith in one’s life, reminding us that we aren’t alone, that with God we can overcome. It can bring people together for a common cause, shattering the silent walls we sometimes build up around us, allowing us to share with one another, to laugh, cry, love and make memories.  Cancer  can bring to light the courage that was hiding within, waiting for the right moment to shine it’s brightest in the darkness. It can build up strength inside us  even in our weakest moments. It can show us what it truly means to have love in our lives.

Cancer is a terrible thing. A disease that steals too many lives too soon. And even with today’s medical advances we haven’t learned how to get rid of it completely. But we can learn from it. Let us be reminded of the hope within us all. Hope for a cure, hope for life and love and happiness. Let it remind us of the things that are truly important in our lives, for it is these things that cancer CAN NOT take away from us.

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Ani Burr, RN

I'm a brand new, full-fledged, fresh-out-of-school RN! And better yet, I landed the job of my dreams working with children. I love what I do, and while everyday on the job is a new (and sometimes scary) experience, I'm taking it all in - absorbing everything I can about this amazing profession we all fell in love with.

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