This I Believe

Kelly - Leesburg, Virginia
Entered on June 2, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: hope, illness
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“This I Believe” Essay

I believe in hope. Hope gets you from one day to the next. Hope is living and I experienced the miracle of that one little word. Recently, I participated in the American Cancer’s Society Relay for Life and I can honestly say that it changed my life. There is no cure for cancer yet but that is no reason to stop living.

I did not really know what to expect at the Relay for Life. All I knew was that you had to walk around the track for a long time but it was so much more than that. It was a community coming together, it was supporting cancer survivors, and it was in memory of those who lost their battle with cancer.

In the evening, everyone moved into the auditorium where a survivor who gave their personal story about their fight with cancer. The story was about a female who was diagnosed with five different types of cancers, and was only given 2 months to live by her doctor. With a straight face she told her doctor, “Thank you telling me but this (cancer) will not win, I am going to fight” and she shook the doctor’s hand and walked out of his office. When she broke the news to her husband the image was still crystal clear in her mind. Walking in the house, her husband greeted her as usual with a hug and a kiss and she calmly said, “We need to talk.” As she explained all her diagnosis, her husband got up and went to the bathroom where he cried. She knocked on the door and said, “This is not the end, I am not going to let it be the end.” Today she can proudly say that she has been cancer free for 2 years.

Just hearing her words made me feel that my problems and frustrations were petty compared the tragedy that she was faced with. Then I thought that if I was ever faced with an obstacle that I would have the strength and perseverance to overcome anything. Exiting the auditorium after her moving speech, the Relay for Life participants moved back out to the track to find candles lit all around the track for the cancer for those survivors or those have passed from cancer. As I look up in the stands around the track, there the word “Hope” illuminates spelled out in candles. The sight brought a tear to my eye; only looking around I was so honored to be a part of such a wonderful event because those people are making a difference and were fighting to survive. There is hope for a cure. Cancer takes many lives but it cannot take their hope.