Face of Hope, January 2014 – Esther (West Valley, NY)

1. How did you become connected with Hope Scarves?

My son’s teacher, Mary Lou Forster, donated to Hope Scarves in my name. I received a scarf in the mail.

2. If you donated a scarf please share what this experience meant to you or if you received a scarf and story please share how this impacted your healing journey?

I loved the concept behind Hope Scarves. Membership into the cancer warrior group is not a voluntary membership yet there is a sisterhood among those who have endured. Those who have gone before reaching to those who are coming up the ranks and telling them there is hope is a wonderful concept. I was touched that the scarf of the warrior that I received had the same exact type of cancer and the same surgery. I checked with Mary Lou and she did not know the particulars of my cancer. So this “coincidence” gave me even more awe.

There is a song called “Borrow Mine” that immediately came to mind. The lyrics:

You can borrow mine when your hope is gone
Borrow mine when you can’t go on
‘Cause the world will not defeat you when we’re side by side
When your faith is hard to find, you can borrow mine, borrow mine

This is the concept of Hope Scarves. Love it!

3. What are the things that provided hope and strength to you throughout your battle?

My faith in God and support from friends, family, and survivors. I had a peace that even though I may not know what the purpose was, there was a reason beyond what I could see. There were so many messages from my Pastor, music, and “coincidences” that gave me peace and assurance. I had many strangers come up to me without knowing I had cancer and tell me that I was glowing or that I had a beautiful smile. I was dumbfounded. The peace I felt was appartently evident.

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 am looking forward to tax season. I was diagnosed in December last year so I missed tax season completely. I just became Quickbooks Certified this week so I will also have some new bookkeeping clients. I had the opportunity to speak at a “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” in October. I am a Zumba enthusiast and enjoy learning to “dance” while celebrating what my body can do.

5. What do you wish other people knew about Hope Scarves?

I think people need to know it exists. The concept is so wonderful. It is a great gift to give to someone.

6. What would you tell someone who is thinking about sending a Hope Scarf to a friend battling cancer?

I can’t think of a better gift. You will be blessing the receiver more than she can express.

7. What is something that you would like to do that you haven’t done yet? (ie. Bucket List)

I had been wanting to tour New York City and go to the Empire State Building. I did that for my birthday last month! It was wonderful. In the future, I want to tour Italy. All of it.

8. What is your favorite inspirational quote or words to live by?

Music and music lyrics were very inspirational to me. I chose two songs as my theme songs for 2013. “10,000 Reasons” and “Worth It All”.

These lyrics often came to mind:

“Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, Let me be singing when the evening comes.”

9. If your friends or family had to describe you in two words, what would those be?

Strong. Inspirational.

10. Please share something you learned having gone through cancer.

I have a new perspective on life. It is empowering to face adversity and fear and come out on the other side. The support I received warmed my heart and changed me. I am able to let things go easier because everything else pales in comparison to what I already went through. I learned to think about what I want to do rather than what is expected of me. I am living.

6 replies
  1. Pat Knox
    Pat Knox says:

    What a beautiful thing to do. And I loved the song Borrow Mine, it really touched me..I have Stage 4 breast cancer, I was diagnosed in July of 2012, I am feeling fine right now, and I thank God for that..I too rely on God and family and friends to get me through difficult times, I pray that God will bless you abundantly!!!

  2. Ellen Sardina
    Ellen Sardina says:

    I met you sans scarf, wig, or hair, and thought you to be one of the MOST beautiful women I’d ever seen with that smile of yours and your dancing eyes! (And, folks, she’s more than “just” as an over comer of cancer. Esther is quite the “hurdle jumper” when it comes to obstacles in her life.) Dance on, dance on, Esther! (And brush up on the Tarentela, too.)

  3. Ann Boguski
    Ann Boguski says:

    Esther, I LOVE reading this. And even the beautiful comments from others. Especially the “beautiful smile and the dancing eyes”. She put it well. 🙂 And I agree. God has not only made you to stand….but to Soar. His beauty coming out in you is amazing to me, and causes me to ‘look up’ and praise Him for His Wonderful Works to the children of men. 🙂 Keep shinning your light for Him….many hugs to you girl …..

  4. Vinny
    Vinny says:

    Very inspirational. Reading through I can feel your strength and faith rise above all that you have battled. I lost my mother to stage 4 liver lymph node and lung cancer. When she was first diagnosed, she was disappointed with me because I cancelled vacation plans with my daughter to spend time with her. Telling me,”Go and enjoy this time with my peanut. When you get back, you can tell me all about it. If I am not here, I was with you already.” Now years later, when life hits me hard, I look up and I could feel Mom reaching down comforting me with a warmth and strength I never realized she possessed. Your faith and strength here too is immeasurable. Stay strong look up smile and know that with every passing day we get closer to the love and grace that shines down on us here whenever we fell beaten or falling. Thank you for introducing me to this site and your post. Please stay in touch. So much to share. God Bless, Vinny.

  5. Mary Gianaris
    Mary Gianaris says:

    I’m a plastic surgery nurse in KC. We focus on breast reconstruction, pre/post mastectomies. I would love to be able to help my post chemotherapy patients
    With these scarves! How can I get involved? I work for the University of Kansas Hospital.


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