Friday, October 30, 2009

Faith's Hope

One of the really great things about Light the Night is seeing all of the white balloons, because every one of those balloons is carried by a cancer survivor. 40 years ago, surviving cancer was a rare thing. Now it is common, but not common enough, which is why so many people are out there raising money to defeat these terrible diseases.

Last night, one of those white balloons was carried by Faith, a young Richmond woman who is currently wrapping up her treatment for stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma. Stage 4 means it has metastasized from the lymphatic system and into organs. In Faith's case, this was her lungs, spleen, and bone marrow. You can imagine that this is quite serious, and Faith has had to undergo a terrible ordeal as she fights for remission.

But Faith did more than just fight her own battle. She used her illness and her courageous fight against cancer to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by joining Light the Night. She formed a team, Faith's Hope, and recruited friends for her team, many of them raising money as well. Faith's team raised $9,334 for Light the Night, the most by far of any team in Virginia this year. Faith single-handed raised over $7,100 of that amount. In fact, she raised more money as an individual than any other team in Virginia. Now, that is simply incredible!
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A mutual friend gave Faith my email address some months back, and she reached out to me as someone who has been through Hodgkin lymphoma and its rigorous treatments, although I am sure that Faith has had to endure more than I did. So we have been exchanging emails for a while, and I joined her team to raise a few dollars of my own for Light the Night. But until last night, I had never met Faith. That changed when the big and enthusiastic team that she had recruited formed up prior to the event. One of the highlights of the evening for me was getting to meet Faith at last, and to give her a big hug - one survivor to another. I know that our entire team was inspired by her. And I know that when I do my next TNT event, Faith's name will be written on my race singlet.
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Faith's fight is nearly over - her treatment ends in two weeks. She has responded well, and final scans after she is done with chemo will determine the level of success. I have no doubt that she will soon finish kicking cancer's ugly butt to the curb! And that she will continue to inspire people with her story and her actions.
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Go Faith! Go Faith's Hope!
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Here are a few photos from last night. I really enjoyed meeting everyone on Faith's team. It was my honor to walk with you all - thanks for coming out with Faith's Hope, supporting her, and supporting this cause.
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Faith and her good friend Jenn. Jenn cleaned Faith's house when Faith was in the hospital, walked her dog, and generally kept an eye on her during her treatment. One of the spring team mentors and I walked a bit with Jenn and were trying to convice her to join Team in Training. Do it Jenn, do it! You won't regret it.
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Part of Faith's Hope. Mary, the lady on the far left, survived Non-Hodgkin lymphoma 31 years ago, which is beyond remarkable. From left: Mary, Mary, Scottie, Faith, Lis, and Susan. Lis brought Faith ginger ale when she couldn't keep anything else down, and walked her dog on weekends.
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Our team was big, and it seemed impossible to get everyone in the same place for a photo, but here is one with me in there with some of our team. Back row, from left: Scottie, Lis, Beth (one of Faith's sisters), Jenn, and David. Kneeling: Art, Faith, Martha.
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Awesome survivor Faith holding her white balloon (the wierd loop was the ribbon to a balloon blowing in the wind)
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People carrying their lighted balloons
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Part of Faith's Hope after the walk - everyone is happy, everyone is inspired!

3 comments:

Cheryl said...

Hi Art...what an inspiring post.....faith will stay in my mind, I am humbled.

Your posts must give hope to many people......I do congratulate you all for your positivity......

Racn4acure said...

Thanks for your kind words, Cheryl. I was so glad to meet Faith at last after sharing cancer experiences / memories over email. Art

Faith said...

Thanks Art! You are too kind. Light the Night was a wonderful experience. Finding a way to take control of your life and disease during treatment is so helpful. As a blood cancer patient and survivor, I feel a responsibility to help fight the disease on a grander scale, not just on a personal level. It has definitely been a learning experience. Thank you to everyone who supported me during this time. Faith