Posted in cancer, faith, friend, God, Grace, gratitude, hapiness, healing, heart, help, Love, prayer, soul, Thanksgiving

Living From the Heart

Living from the heart.  What does this mean?  Another expression “living wholeheartedly.”  I love Brene Brown, she has done several great works on this subject of living wholeheartedly and authentically.  But what does it look like, this wholehearted living?

I will try to flesh this out in the way that I have been working on.  The Word courage actually has at the root of it “Heart”.  Middle English (denoting the heart, as the seat of feelings): from Old French corage, from Latin cor ‘heart.’  So we know that courage takes heart.  It has meant for me to moving forward despite the way I am feeling.  Courage does not mean that I am not afraid but that I continue on my path despite my fears.

The bible tells us that “perfect love casts out fear” 1John 4;18.  So, it is impossible to experience love when we are in a state of fear.  Courage is an act of faith, to move forward despite our fears.  It takes courage and faith to believe you are not dying of cancer when the doctors tell you that you have six months to live.

Much of this courage begins with thought and intention.  Humans are the only created being that have the ability to observe thought.  That means we can think about what we are thinking about.  We also have the ability to police those thoughts.

When I was first told I had six months to live, I sat one day and made a list of every negative, fatalistic thought that I had.  I memorized it and place it before myself so any time I had one of those thoughts, I recognized it and chased it from my mind.  I replaced it with prayers and healing intentions for myself.  This went on hundreds of times a day, in the beginning.  In time, I found I had less and less of those thoughts to chase.

I spend nearly a half and hour a day when I am in a dreamy state before I get up and and I do my work.  My true work.  I pray and meditate on my good health and healing intentions for my body.  I chase fear, I invite in love and light and express extreme gratitude for another day.  This time I spend is extremely important and it helps me to be fortified from within before I begin my day.  I am not in a particular position but I do practice breathing and listening to my breath.

In this state I envision and experience health with my thoughts and my emotions.  I express my gratitude for the simplest things: my body, my mind, my family, my husband, children, food, shelter.  I ask for nothing just gratitude for what I have.  I experience joy and contentment.  Here and now.

Living from the heart is rare.  People often say I am brave, if that means being authentic and genuine then yes, I am brave.  I guess I put a lot “out there” and express openly what others would not.  At times it does feel risky but it is mostly out of an attempt to help  someone who may be in a dark and fearful place.  To give them hope and potentially show them a way out.  I have been in dark places myself and I know how scary it can be to be alone with bad thoughts and intentions towards myself.  I spent many years there.  But those years have given me much compassion and understanding.

Living from the heart is healthy.  I believe it is what we were created to do.  To experience love and express love freely.  It is mainly negative experiences that cause us to wall ourselves off.  And with some folks who have proven themselves to be untrustworthy with our hearts, it is right to do.  I was not created to be anyone’s doormat.  Neither were you.  But I was created to be a welcome mat and there is a HUGE difference!!

I will share one of my favorite talks here:

 

Posted in faith, friend, God, Grace, hapiness, healing, Love, prayer, soul, Thanksgiving

The value of an impression.

This is the premise of a lecture I gave this month at FIT in a Communication class for Business Executives.  I really enjoyed speaking in an academic environment, definitely a first and  a thrill for me.

I work at SCB Marketing and I am in the impression business.  My company is in the business of impressing different audiences in Brevard County.  Our clients and advertisers count on us and our ability to make impressions for them each and everyday.  The entire advertising industry relies on the fact that what we see and what impresses us, influences behavior.  When we keep our clients “top of mind”, they will be the ones who get your business, when you have a need that they can fulfill.

I theorize that we are far more impressionable than we realize.  I theorize that EVERYTHING that we come in contact with, makes an impression upon us, influences us and ultimately takes us places.  From the time we are small children, we are constantly assimilating different stimuli and experiences and formulating our values, ideas and aspirations.  So, from what we eat, see, think, listen to, associate with……..our parents, friends, work associates.  What we read, watch on TV, play on our ipods……..impresses us in some form or fashion.

The degree that we are impressed depends on 2 things:  How malleable we are at the time and how much force or impact the stimuli has.  So, when we are young, we are very malleable and easily impressed.  As we mature, we become less impressionable but still remain more impressionable than we think or care to admit.

Let’s do a small exercise……think about the 3 most painful or difficult things that were ever said to you.  Most of us can think of those things rather quickly.  Now name the 3 best compliments you have ever received.  I guarantee that it will be more difficult for you to come up with the compliments then the slights.  We are much more easily impressed by the negative, rather than the positive.  Also, we read and assimilate the sub text easily.  For instance, your Mom/Dad tell you verbally that they love you but do not come to your school performances or games.  The actions of your parents completely belie their words and you will most likely get the impression that you are not loved/ worthy of their time.  When the truth is probably that your parents are self absorbed and critically damaged themselves.

My cancer experience was that profound experienced that made me realize, I had the wrong impression about myself.  If you look at your actions, who you surround yourself with and your self talk.  If it is all negative, you have gotten the wrong impression about you along the way.

So, when do people change?  People change when the pain of remaining the same exceeds the pain of change.  That is the place I got to shortly after my cancer diagnosis.  I was greatly impressed by my losses and the deep impact I felt on every possible level.  I knew that, if I did not change things within myself, I was a goner.  I would not survive cancer and  I would be lost.

Daily focus on healing, correcting negative self talk, surrounding myself with love and support are what pulled me through.  I allowed myself to be cared for and blessed by others.  That was very difficult for this independent soul, who’s first full sentence was “I’ll do it myself” at age 2.  It took multiple levels of programming to give you the wrong impression of yourself, it will take the same to de-program you and learn how to love yourself in a healthy way.

Some practical things to do……….

  • get a white board and write positive and affirming things to say to yourself when the negative voices speak.
  • Say I am statements daily and repeatedly:  I am HEALTHY, I am LOVED,   I am WORTHY!!
  • Take a personal inventory and list all your positive attributes!
  • Ask God to show you how HE sees you!
  • Get negative and non affirming people OUT of your life!!
  • Do nice things for yourself.  Treat yourself as you would your beloved child.
  • Nurture your interests and talents.  Do things that are good for your soul and make you smile.
  • Help someone else overcome an obstacle.

Every person on God’s green earth is loved by GOD!  He loved each of us so much that he chose to send his very own Son to atone  for when we fall short.  God will forgive you of any and all of our shortcomings if we just ask him to.  His word should impress you with his love and how he thinks about you!!

John 3:16-17

New King James Version (NKJV)

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Romans 5:8

New International Version (NIV)

8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Posted in faith, Grace, hapiness, healing, heart, Love, soul, Uncategorized

Groundhog Day………..Is this your special holiday?

In 1993 a comedic movie was released starring Bill Murray and Andie Mc Dowell.  The basic plot is as follows:

Self-centered and sour TV meteorologist Phil Connors (Bill Murray), news producer Rita (Andie MacDowell) and cameraman Larry (Chris Elliott) from fictional Pittsburgh television station WPBH-TV9 travel to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover the annual Groundhog Dayfestivities with Punxsutawney Phil. Having grown tired of this assignment, Phil grudgingly gives his report and attempts to return to Pittsburgh when a blizzard shuts down the roads. Phil and his team are forced to return to Punxsutawney and stay in town overnight.

Phil wakes up to find that he is reliving February 2. The day plays out exactly as it did before, with no one else aware of the time loop, and only Phil aware of past events. At first he is confused, but, when the phenomenon continues on subsequent days, he decides to take advantage of the situation with no fear of long-term consequences: he learns secrets from the town’s residents, seduces women, steals money, drives recklessly, and gets thrown in jail. However, his attempts to get closer to Rita repeatedly fail.

Eventually, Phil becomes despondent and tries more and more drastically to end the time loop; he gives ridiculous and offensive reports on the festival, abuses residents, and eventually kidnaps Punxsutawney Phil and, after a police chase, drives into a quarry, evidently killing both himself and the groundhog. However, Phil wakes up and finds that nothing has changed; further attempts at suicide are just as fruitless as he continues to find himself awaking at 6:00 A.M. on the morning of February 2 with the clock-radio on his bedstand playing I Got You, Babe by Sonny & Cher.

When Phil explains the situation to Rita, she suggests that he should take advantage of it to improve himself. Inspired, Phil endeavors to try to learn more about Rita, building upon his knowledge of her and the town each day. He begins to use his by-now vast experience of the day to help as many people around town as possible. He uses the time to learn, among other things, to play piano, ice sculpt and speak French.

Eventually, Phil is able to befriend almost everyone he meets during the day, using his experiences to save lives, help townspeople, and to get closer to Rita. He crafts a report on the Groundhog Day celebration so eloquent that all the other stations turn their microphones to him. After the evening dance, Rita and Phil retire together to Phil’s room. He wakes the next morning and finds the time loop is broken; it is now February 3 and Rita is still with him. After going outside, Phil talks about living in Punxsutawney with Rita.

Think about your own life, do you have certain patterns of events, circumstances or failure, repeat themselves over and over?  Do you find yourself in the same failed relationships again and again.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news but the one common denominator in all these dramas is YOU!  You tell yourself that, you just need a better partner, boss.  You need to change the cast of characters etc.  What you don’t realize is that it is YOU that creates and re creates the same drama again and again.  You can change the names, but the core problem remains the same.

It has been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  Are you insane?

What do you do to break the cycle?  Begin with YOU.  Realize that in order for your life to be different, YOU MUST BE DIFFERENT.  Being different feels really weird at first.  You will feel like a fish out of water.  But remember that in order to adopt different behavior patterns, you must adopt different behavior, thoughts and eventually beliefs.  It takes time and lots of consistent mental work.  Over time though, you can do it……..you can change your life.  BUT you must begin with YOU!!

How ironic that the Groundhog Day is all about shadows.  A shadow is an area where direct light from a light source cannot reach due to obstruction by an object.  The obstruction in this analogy is you and your unproductive, faulty beliefs and patterns.  Do yourself a favor and get out of your own way today.  Try to thoughtfully respond to others instead of reacting.  Your figurative spring could be just around the corner.

2 Corinthians 5:17New International Version (NIV

)17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!

Posted in faith, God, Grace, healing, heart, help, Love

The Power of “IF”…………..

The word “if” is an interesting one.  It speaks of hidden potential.  It is often used conditionally……if you do this, then this will happen.

It is a poem by Rudyard Kipling (which is a favorite of mine)

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

Great Poem……………

But yesterday I realized in my reflection that the word “IF” is the only difference between LOVE and LIFE.  And it made me smile to realize that without LOVE……true uncommon and unconditional LOVE, there is NO LIFE.  Or at least no life worth living, that is.  So I came up with a small and simple equation.  LOVE + IF = LIFE.

If we love others and extend ourselves sacrificially towards others, we have an exceptional and satisfying life.  It has truly worked for me!!  And God did it for us FIRST!!

Posted in friend, God, Grace, Love, prayer, Uncategorized

Something to THINK about from my Friend Ingrid.

Imagine that you had won the following prize in a contest:  Each morning your bank would deposit $86,400.00 in your  private account for your use.

However,this prize has rules, just as  any game has certain rules.

The first set of rules would be:

Everything that you didn’t spend during each day would be taken away from you.


You may not simply transfer money into some other account.

     You may only spend it.

Each morning upon awakening, the bank opens your account with another $86,400.00 for that day.
      

The  second set of rules:

The bank can end the game without warning; at any time  it can say, It’s over,the game is over!  It can  close the account  and you will not receive a new one.

What would you personally do?

You would buy anything and everything you wanted right?  Not only for yourself, but for all people you love, right?  Even for people you don’t know, because you couldn’t  possibly spend it all on yourself, right?  You would try to spend every cent, and use it all, right?

ACTUALLY This  GAME is  REALITY!

Each of us is in possession of such a magical  bank. We just can’t seem to see it.

The MAGICAL BANK is  TIME!

Each morning we awaken to receive 86,400 seconds as a gift of life, and when we go to sleep at night, any remaining time is  NOT credited to us.

What we haven’t lived up that day is forever  lost.

Yesterday is forever gone.

Each morning the account is refilled, but the bank  can dissolve your account at any time….WITHOUT  WARNING.

SO, what will YOU do with your 86,400  seconds?

Those seconds are worth so much more than the same amount in dollars.

Think about that, and always think of this:

Enjoy every second of your life, because time races by so much quicker than you  think.

So take care of yourself, be Happy, Love Deeply and enjoy life!

Here’s wishing you a wonderful and beautiful day.

Start spending your time wisely!!

 

Posted in Chemotherapy, God, heart, Love, Survival, Uncategorized

Grace……..a poignant human portrayal. The story of John Bibby & I

Grace, we hear the word in church, at mealtime and when something unexpected and undeserved happens.  I have defined it for years as “unmerited favor”.  I have known for quite sometime that it is what God extended to us, “while we were yet, sinners”

Romans 5:8

New International Version (NIV)

8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

But what does this look like on a daily basis and do we truly extend this to those around us, as we are called to do?

I do not have to look very far, in my life to remember the most poignant example of grace I have ever experienced, in human flesh.  It is the story of my boyfriend John and I.

Our story begins in the most unlikely way and like this:  In 2007 I had a very regular boyfriend (who became husband #2 John Smith).  We had been dating off & on since the fall of 2003.  I say off & on because this was a tumultuous relationship and we had significant “off times” when John Smith would become angry or upset about something and he would call off our relationship.  It was during one of these times, I met a guy named John Bibby online and we starting “hanging out”.  He was handsome, fun, very smart etc. but my heart was still wrapped up with John Smith.  John Bibby was a good distraction for me and was “never going to be a serious relationship”.  After all, he was nearly 10 years younger than me and I was seriously bound to John Smith.

Over the course of the next 18 months, when I was tossed aside, I would call John Bibby and we had some really good times, great conversations etc.  John Bibby also really bonded with my son Tucker.  They used to hang out and do things together, even without me.  John and Tucker really enjoyed  hanging out and  Tucker really needed a positive male role model.  John Bibby was always respectful, thoughtful,  helpful, kind, resourceful etc.  On an intellectual level, I knew he was everything I was supposed to want in a partner.  We really got along well……we never fussed with one another.  Never!!  But regardless of all this great stuff…..I was stuck on John Smith.  As soon as the phone call came from him, I would toss John Bibby aside and run back into my unhealthy relationship with John Smith.

In late 2008, John Smith and I were off again.  John Bibby and I were spending time together again.  Now, John Bibby has never been married or had any kids of his own, and one day I discussed the fact with John Bibby that I probably would like to get married again someday.  Some time in the beginning of February we had this discussion and I asked John Bibby if he thought he would ever consider being married.  Then I asked the question that lives in infamy.  Did he ever think he could consider me for a marriage partner?  His answer showed a lot of wisdom.  He said that if I could stay in a relationship with him for more that 6-12 months and I would stop running away, yes he would consider it.

Now get this folks………within a week of that conversation, John Smith asked me to marry him and I agreed.  I tossed John Bibby aside one final time, without much explanation except this:  I knew there was something wrong with me.  I told John Bibby through tears, one final time that I was back with John Smith and I would not be contacting him again.  I could hear the complete and utter confusion and devastation I was causing him.  As I hung up the phone, I was aware that I had just pushed away the one man who had been absolutely wonderful to me for the final time.

John Bibby emailed me about 2 weeks later and begged me to continue his relationship with Tucker.  I was now married and I sent back a 2 word reply, in all caps…….it said  NO CONTACT!!  That was the last time I heard from John Bibby.

Fast forward to the beginning of November 2009:   I am about 12 weeks into my cancer journey.  John Smith has bailed on the marriage and I am living in Melbourne, in a hotel room with my 17-year-old son Tucker.  I am trying to figure out where we are going to live, where I am going to get treatment etc.  I am in the midst of trying to get this huge puzzle put together of our life.  I was really concerned about Tucker, he was a senior at Viera High School and I could tell, he was really concerned about our life.  I just needed some space too……mentally just so I could cry, scream, think and pray.  I was not finding that space with Tucker there.  I was trying to put a good face on things and keep him from worrying.  That was not working out so well.  Then one day in my prayers about Tucker and our situation, I thought about John Bibby.  I knew he probably hated me (and rightfully so) but I knew he still loved Tucker.  I thought about calling him for probably about a week before I got the guts to actually reach out and do it.  My first attempt was actually an IM on Yahoo but he ignored it, thinking it was a bot and not really me.  I thought he was ignoring it because he hated me but I tried again.  This time he acknowledged the IM and said if it was really me, call him.  I no longer had his number so I asked him to send me his number.  He did so reluctantly, still thinking it was not really me.  Once I had his number, I stared at it for 3 days before I got up the guts to call it.

Our first conversation was very tentative and went something like this:      I said hello John, I appreciate you taking my call.  I really would not blame you if you hung up on me right now but I have a problem……… I told him about my recent cancer diagnosis, my subsequent separation and my current situation.  I explained to him that I was calling him to see if he would be willing to come and help me with Tucker.  I told him that he did not need to even see me, I would put Tucker out on the curb to be picked up etc.  Would he be willing to help me with Tucker?  And I took a big gulp and waited for his response ( I was sooooo scared at this point).  He said NO!!!  I was just about to thank him for taking my call, hang up and ball my eyes out when he stopped me.  He said, what I mean is……..I will not just hang out with Tucker, it is a package deal.  I want to hang out with you too.  What?  Really?  I then told him……”look I am shot out, I am NOT in the mood or inclined towards romance or anything like that”.  Do you understand that?  I then said, well, here is where I am going to be hanging out…….I am going to be getting chemo, my hair is going to be falling out.  I am hanging out at the exciting Cancer Center.  You understand that don’t you?  I am going to be sick and sleepy and not much fun for the next year.  Are you getting this?  This is where you want to be?  After I was so horrible to you?

He answered yes……this is where I want to be.  I have been a dead man walking for the past year and I can not believe I am getting this opportunity to help you now.  I guess given what I had been through with my husband, I did not dare to believe that it was true.  I protected myself and my heart for quite some time.  I kept waiting for John Bibby to run away like his hair was on fire, at some point.  I thought well…..wait until my hair falls out, then he will leave. ……….  Wait until I am very weak, helpless and no fun at all, then he will go away.  It was not until nearly March of 2010 when I had thrush so bad and I gave it to John for his 40th birthday (he was sooooo sick)…I thought surely he would run away then, but he never did.  He never left Tucker’s or my side for over 6 months.  He cooked, he cleaned, he helped Tucker get the best grades of his academic life, he taught Tucker how to drive.  He brought me food and drink when I was weak and slept for days on end.  He took me to all of my appointments (and there were hundreds).  He sacrificed himself financially to be there for me through it all.  What do you do with a man like this?  I tell you what you do………you love him back.  I finally have allowed myself to have the partner I have always dreamed of.

This portrait I have just painted is the closest thing I have ever experienced God’s grace, in human form. John Bibby would have been well within his rights to tell me to “go fly a kite” when he heard from me in November 2009.  No one would have condemned him if he did so…….myself included.  But he was compelled by his decency and love for me to extend himself beyond what was common.  This was an uncommon act of GRACE!!

I thank God for John Bibby daily.  We still don’t fuss with one another.  I have NO DOUBT of his love and devotion to me.  And at this point, I have had the opportunity to give back to him uncommon support when he has needed it.  He does not doubt my love for him either.  We have weathered one of life’s most harrowing storms together, it has made our bond incredibly strong.  He is my greatest supporter, in whatever I choose to do and I am his.  This is the way it supposed to be.  It is because of this large measure of grace I have received, that I am able to extend myself in uncommon ways.

Thank you God for your grace & mercy, it is new everyday!!  Thank you for the gift of a great friend and partner……..John Bibby!!

Here is a Poem John Inspired me to write:  It says it all.

A Caregivers LOVE………by Dawn Faust

by Dawn Faust on Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 7:28pm

 LOVE sits beside me in a chemo chair

He says I am beautiful without any hair

He smiles reassuringly when I am afraid

He gives to me peace tho nothing is said.

LOVE brings me a drink

And gently kisses my cheek

He says that he loves me

And yet does not speak.

LOVE watches everyone

That works over me

My vigilant sentry

To the highest degree

LOVE  brings me home

He tucks me in bed

He checks on me frequently

He kisses my head.

LOVE wakes me for food

To help keep me strong

He fusses and fetches

At times all night long.

LOVE is not angry

He is patient and kind

He is always helpful

And does not mind

LOVE continually gives

Without self-regard

It is not a burden

It is natural, not hard

LOVE does not keep track

Of all that he’s done

All that matters to him

Is the battle be WON.

 God Bless the caregivers………………LOVE = John Bibby.


Posted in cancer, Chemotherapy, faith, friend, God, Grace, help, Love, Post Cancer, Survival

Help my friend Keri

I met Keri when I was still married to John Smith, I hired her husband to drive for our company.  I was diagnosed in August of 2009 with breast cancer and Keri was diagnosed 6 months later with cervical cancer.  Both of our husbands departed our cancer journeys but we have remained in touch and supportive of one another.  She is in MD Anderson, in Texas right now where she is fighting for her life.  Her attitude Inspires me…..she is incredible.  If you would like to help Keri, let me know.  She needs much prayer, support and any money you may feel moved to give.

We walked this morning to raise money and support.  There were at least 150 people who walked/ran.  It was great!!

Read below:

In October 1, 2011, both Family and Friends of Keri Morrissey will host a walk/run in her honor to help support her fight against Cancer, followed by an afternoon barbeque at the Dog N Bone British Pub, Cocoa Village. Keri is a 33 year old, single mother of two beautiful children, Jillian (age 9) and Jake (age 5). (Pictured)
In the spring of 2010, Keri was diagnosed with Stage IIIB Cervical Cancer and after an intense treatment program that included chemotherapy and both internal and external radiation, Keri was declared cancer-free on October 25, 2010.

During a recent check-up on July 18th, doctors advised Keri that an area of concern was discovered and further tests would have to be run to conclude if her cancer had returned. Unfortunately, the cancer did return and the tumor is large and growing in an area that has already been radiated. When cervical cancer recurs this quickly, it is a sign that the tumor is very aggressive and should be treated as such.

Doctors have set her treatment plans, which include major surgery for 8-10 hours and require the complete removal of her pelvic organs. This procedure will be done at MD Anderson Cancer Treatment Center in Houston, Texas at a substantial cost to the family. We are reaching out to our local community, hoping to raise money for Keri and her family to offset the cost of travel, hotel expenses and additional medical costs not covered by insurance. She will need to travel to Texas on a monthly basis for further treatment after the surgery and will be required to cover all expenses associated with these visits.

We need your support to organize this walk/run and/or BBQ on October 1st!! As a sponsor of this event, we will place your company’s name/ logo on event t-shirts as well as any correspondence/ signage associated with this event. We anticipate 250 participants.

We do hope this is something you might be willing to consider. By donating to this family, you will be touching more than just three lives. You will provide hope and relief to a family that is facing a great life experience at their doorstep. Any donation is greatly appreciated, as every dollar generated will go directly to the family to assist with their incurred medical expenses. Should you have any questions, or need more information, please do not hesitate to contact us at the information below. Thank you for your willingness to support Keri in her fight for a cure.