Saturday, April 17, 2010

Stories of hope & survival

Today I went to Killeen for the Relay For Life garage sale. We had a table there to sell chances for the quilt, as well as recruit for our blood drive we were having.
First of all it poured. I mean, the heavens opened up and dropped an ocean on us. And the person at the garage sale didn't mark off spots for our blood mobile which meant we were at the back of the parking lot.
But that didn't stop people from coming to donate. Our numbers were lower than what we would have liked, but people responded to our need.
We made $45 on the quilt which was good given that this was a garage sale crowd and not a craft fair crowd. $30 of that was simply a donation from two folks.
I don't know what it is about me that people feel comfortable "opening up" to me, but I do consider it a blessing. Today was no different.
At the start of my day, a mother and daughter came by, looked at the quilt and when I told them about it, both started to cry. I asked if one of them was a survivor and the daughter said "it is too fresh" and walked away. So I looked at the mom, told her I was a 23 year survivor and whatever it was, she would get through it. She cried, and then told me she was a 5 year survivor--until yesterday. They found another cancer spot in a different part of her body. We talked briefly, I tried to encourage her and told her I would think of her as I walked in Relay in 2 weeks.
A little time passed and an older gentleman came and looked at the quilt. He told me he had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and prostate cancer a few years ago. Basically, they told him there wasn't much hope, but that he should go to the VA since he was a veteran. He did and found out that the lymphoma was probably caused by agent orange during the Vietnam war. They told him they could help him and he has been cancer free for 10 years. When the doctor sees him, he calls him "his walking miracle". I shook his hand and told him I was proud to meet a miracle. About 20 minutes later, he came back, laid $20 on the table and told me to donate it to ACS to help others.
Just before I left, another couple came by and asked about the quilt. We talked and their son has lymphoma is is undergoing treatment. We talked for awhile, cried for awhile, and then smiled for awhile, assured the treatment was going to work. They left a $10 donation.
You know, I am truly blessed. God gave me the ability to talk with folks and to listen with folks and to try to understand what they are going through. I pray today I helped someone along the way on their journey. I know they helped me.


Debbie Jo said...

Sounds like the day went very well and a few more people can know someone cared to take time to share with them and let them know they are not alone. You do a great job Donna. Keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

yup you are a great person...

Mary said...

Donna, how great that you can meet these people and hear their stories. I haven't told too many people yet, but my Sister in law was diagnosed with breast cancer right before Thanksgiving. She has had a double mastectomy and is currently in her last round of chemo. People like you and the things you do to bring awareness is saving lives every day. Keep up the good work!

Karan said...

Bless your kind & caring heart Donna. :0)