Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Giving back to the cancer community

Ever since I started treatment for my cancer almost 4 years ago I wanted to give back and help fellow patients in their journey with cancer.  My doctors wanted me to focus on healing, to be selfish and rest, relax, heal, be.  Ya, that's not for me I am more proactive then that, I don't like to feel helpless and I don't like to feel weak.  I do like to help others and to bring comfort and hope, it's who I am. 

When I worked in law, as a paralegal I loved that part of my job where I comforted clients and brought them hope and justice.  Working as a bankruptcy paralegal I prayed with clients who felt they had let their families and God down in the unforeseen debt crisis, when I was successful in short-saling a home for a client as a realtor helping a family avoid foreclosure and move on and able to buy a house again was wonderful.  I had quite a few clients call me their angel.  Although I am not an angel of any kind (my mother can attest to that) it feels good to help people.

Like my mom I am a "crusader rabbit" or "lady liberty"  I believe strongly in justice and what is right and wrong, I hold strong to my beliefs and I have enough strength and courage to share and I am happy to do so.  Don't get me wrong, I have my weak days, in fact lately I have been feeling depressed and discouraged, but I know I will bounce right back to my normal kick butt self.
  I often come to the rescue of someone in trouble, the underdog, the bullied, the sick and hurt. 

So in the spirit of giving back to my fellow cancer sisters and community I started a non-profit, got registered for tax exemption and spent days and weeks over the past year working on hand beaded jewelry to help brighten the days and lives of female cancer patients in my area.  I got the idea of my bags from another breast cancer survivor on facebook and I put my own touch and spin on it and made it my own.     Blessings Bags

I drop off a big gift bag of little 9x6 in bags full of information, tips, financial resources, inspiration, and a gift, every bag gets a piece of jewelry and a tube of chapstick.  I have had so many doctor's offices tell me that their patients LOVE this, that at least once a week a patient cries in response to receiving one of these bags and the most common statement is, "Wow, I really needed something like this right now."  This is the reason I do it.  It is impossible not to feel alone in this fight and journey with cancer, even though we know we aren't alone, because this is a very personal and often private battle with this disease it can feel very isolating at times.  The other hand is that the blessing, is that in this day in age cancer creates a sisterhood, a community within a greater community and it helps knowing that there are other people going through or have already gone through what you are going through.  I did not know anyone who had radiation, in my group of breast cancer patient/survivors.  I had a close friend have radiation who had thyroid cancer and that helped but still not quite the same.  I can say for me, it helped having cancer sisters, and I love being able to be that for others. 

I am still trying to give back to my cancer community and knowing me, I will never stop even now, flat broke I am still dropping off bags of Blessings Bags at local doctor offices and I am so stressed out about not having enough money for Christmas, let alone how the hell I am going to pay for Christmas presents or dinner for the family.  But I do have faith, faith that everything will work out, and faith that I am doing something good.