Face of Hope Joan

Face of Hope, May 2014 – Joan (Atlanta, GA)

1. How did you become connected with Hope Scarves?

I had no idea such a wonderful program as Hope Scarves existed until the daughter of a friend of mine sent me one. Amy Keller, a Louisville gal and mother of two young boys, was just finishing up her own battle with breast cancer when she heard of my relapse.

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?

Receiving the beautiful scarf from Amy was like an infusion of hope from a fellow traveler. Reading the online stories of so many young women who had fought and succeeded in their battle against cancer was tremendously encouraging. The scarf was also a conversation starter at the gym, supermarket, and church helping me connect with others who had been in my shoes or knew someone who was.

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

Of course, my family, friends, and my amazing dog, Emily were an invaluable source of support for me along with the wonderful staff at the Emory Winship Cancer Center here in Atlanta. Every test, statistic, and treatment were thoroughly explained with all their pros and cons. I think we’re all lucky to live at a time where we no longer blindly follow a medical protocol, put are partners in our treatment and recovery. Knowledge really does give one a sense of power.

4. Where are you currently on your cancer journey? Tell us how you are living life over cancer.

I finished my last chemo in November and since then have been taking an aromatase inhibitor. I will take this for five years or longer perhaps. The side effects are not too bad, fatigue and sore joints, but if they keep another recurrence from happening I’ll be thankful. I’m back taking long walks with Emmie and swimming about 7 miles a week. For me exercise has been a wonderful healer, especially of the mind.

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

I think I would like others to know that there is this wonderful small gift of Hope scarves that they can send to a friend or even acquaintance that just “says” it all. When one’s own words won’t suffice, the stories of other Hope Scarf recipients can be so comforting for the cancer patient.

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

See above.

7. What is one of your dreams or goals for the future?

I would like to give Mt. Kilimanjaro one more try. My first attempt at age 22 ended with me stricken with altitude sickness about 500 feet below the summit.

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

Carpe Diem!

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

Impatient and compassionate (according to my husband).

10. Please share something you learned having gone through cancer – either as a survivor or as having a loved one with cancer.

Life is fleeting. Make every day count. Do something for someone else!.

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