Fifty-two of Louisville’s young leaders agreed to spend one full day a month, for six months, focusing on leadership development. A portion of our nights and weekends were dedicated to consulting for a local nonprofit together with a small team of our peers. When this impressive group convened for the first time in October, the room was filled with enthusiasm, anticipation and some skepticism. Months later, it’s safe to say we are all transformed, inspired and grateful.
The Voice Tribune | by Abby Shue, Special Contributor | 08/08/2013 | Read the Full Story
1. How did you become connected with Hope Scarves?
I had seen the brochure initially at Jewish Northeast, where I was taking chemotherapy and then had a very coincidental meeting with Lara. She was working with friends (on Hope Scarves) at Starbucks and her friends knew my friend. Lara recognized the bald head and pale skin of a chemo patient (me!) and initiated a conversation. We chatted and she took my contact information. The scarf arrived two days later.
2. How did receiving the scarf and story impact your healing journey?
It’s amazing how many people have dealt with cancer and chemo but when it’s YOU, it feels like a very lonely disease and you’re so lost and disoriented. Everyone comes to it in their own time but eventually, you want to connect with kindred souls and know that there’s an end to the confusion and fear. When you receive that scarf and read the story of the woman who donated it, you know that she sent it because she didn’t need it anymore. You aren’t always going to be where you are.
3. What are the things that provided hope and strength to you throughout your battle?
I connected with survivors on Breast Cancer websites and tried to provide encouragement to others that were starting a bit behind me. For example, if someone was afraid of the side effects of chemotherapy, I would share my experience and that it wasn’t so bad other than the fatigue. We have a history of cancer in our family (not breast but other types) and I doubt if I’m the last one to ever have to deal with it although I certainly hope so! I tried to look at my handling of this health crisis through the eyes of my other family members. I took a deep breath and prayed, not for healing, but for a certain grace and dignity as I journey through it. I want to be a good example.
4. Where are you currently in your life after cancer? Tell us about your hobbies, interests, family and what is going on these days.
I returned to work in April after finishing chemo and am only now getting back to my pre-cancer life. The fatigue is gone— just in time to have my permanent implant surgery this week. But I’m planning on a quick recovery and then I’m on the hunt for a house to buy. I’ve lived in Louisville for 5 years—I guess its time to recognize that I’m staying here. And I’m glad about that; it’s a strange thing to say but I’ve made many good friends that connected with me through my having cancer.
5. What do you wish other people knew about Hope Scarves?
I wish they knew that it has very little to do with just getting a scarf. Anyone can buy themselves a scarf. It’s about connecting with that kindred spirit who just wants to extend some comfort and hope at the time that you most need and appreciate it.
6. What would you tell someone who is thinking about sending a Hope Scarf to a friend battling cancer?
You should make plans to do it and I would suggest that you do it as soon as you know that chemotherapy is part of their treatment. Losing hair happens VERY quickly and having THAT scarf on hand and reading the story as you are mourning the loss of your hair is truly comforting. She’s been there and moved on and so will I.
7. What is something that you would like to do that you haven’t done yet? (ie. Bucket List)
I’ve never been to Europe and I’m going! My dream trip is Italy. I plan to get there within the next five years.
8. What is your favorite inspirational quote or words to live by?
This is just a pit stop. I don’t live here and don’t ever have to visit again.
9. If your friends or family had to describe you in two words, what would those be?
Oh wow! That’s a good question……
10. Please share something you learned having gone through cancer.
To let someone help you in whatever way they can is a gift—both for you and for them. So many of my friends and family would have done anything for me within their power and to say “No, I’m okay without you” is never true. I had no idea of the level of caring and concern, not just from people I already knew but from people that just knew about me! Casual connections at work became real connections when they heard what was going on with me and I’ll carry these friendships and relationships through with me for the rest of my life.