When someone or something inspires someone so profoundly, all the words and pictures someone could create on the topic still somehow would never be enough to express your love and devotion to them. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to appreciate life and love so much more, and one of those lives in particular is that of my mother.
It has been 11 years now, I was a fourth grade student and my mother was still working as a secretary at a law office downtown. A routine dentist appointment changed her life and the family’s lives one day after work, finding a dark spot later to be found as cancer.
The cancer my Mom developed is rare. There is no cure, only frequent surgeries and a deadline of at least five years per term of remission. It’s called Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma, a cancer that develops in tumor form in any part if the body at any time.
For 11 years, my mother has fought it off and on, always coming out on top and showing cancer who is boss. She’s lost an eye, lost half of her teeth, part of her left jawbone is gone, but none of it fazes her. I have to laugh at those who make characters like Batman, Superman, and the Avengers out to be “heroes to look up to.” If anything, the only heroes in my eyes are Police Officers, Firefighters, and my mom. They give you something in this life and not in a fantasy world to look up to, because they show that when the going gets tough, the tough get going and keep going.
11 years later, my Mom is still here and fighting. Christmas is coming up and I cannot think of what to give her. If I could create a cure, I’d do it in a heartbeat. As a journalist, I could write a book about her and it wouldn’t be enough to show her how amazing she is to me. As a daughter, I can only hope that after my upcoming wedding and whenever I have children that I can be like the wife and mother that she is now.
How do I show the woman who has given me everything that I love her through a gift? How do I show her that all she’s been through and has done has impacted me greatly enough that I would go above and beyond all else to give her a gift unlike any other? I may have come up with the perfect gift, but it’s a gift that can keep on giving for years and years to come. My sister and I are starting a foundation, a cancer foundation in our mother’s name; so that people who have fought or may someday fight the cancer that she has faced have a greater chance of survival.
My mother was just recently told that she is now in remission, but each day still includes some sort of struggle. For years, and still on some days, I feel powerless in helping her, but now I feel like I can do so much more through just the power of love and charity. I’ve written this not just to share my mother’s story, but to inspire others to make a difference and pay it forward. If you could give the one that inspires you so much this holiday season the ultimate gift, that gift would be pay it forward and make a difference. All the words and pictures I could create would be never-ending in showing how much I adore my mom and would only go a short way, but donating and helping millions like her to overcome and empower can and will go a long way. That is what I’m doing this holiday season, how about you?