This I Believe

Alyssa - University Park, Pennsylvania
Entered on September 19, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, hope, illness
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Having Hope

While in the seventh grade, I lived a simple life. It was a weekly cycle. I woke up, I went to school, and I came home on the school bus. During a sunny day in March, I rode the bus home to my best friend Tori’s house. As my eyes glanced from a distance, I saw that both of my parents’ cars were parked in her driveway. It was a familiar site considering both Tori’s and my parents were best friends. Hungrily, Tori and I raced into the kitchen in an attempt to grab snacks, but were halted by both sets of parents sitting at the table. There was a strange feeling that gathered in the kitchen’s air. Although our parents were best friends, no one was saying a word. My mom squeaked out a hello to me, while my dad’s face turned a shade of white.

At the time, I was a carefree teenager that believed nothing could go wrong in my life. Very simply, my mother told me that the results of her mammogram showed that she had breast cancer. I paused to look at my parents and felt odd. I did not cry, and I was not upset. A sense of hope filled my body as I told my mother that this breast cancer should not frighten her. To me, the path was a logical one. My mother would endure a lumpectomy, receive chemotherapy, and become normal once again.

I soon learned that cancer is a process that not only needs, but requires hope. Hope is a small word with a strong meaning. Hope is what I learned to use to help me through the first major hardship of my life. I used hope to comfort my mother in the hospital during her lumpectomy. I used hope to reassure her that her hair would eventually grow back. I even used hope to hold her hand during her chemotherapy sessions. I believe that my hope has aided my mother in becoming a five year breast cancer survivor.

Hope is everywhere you look. Every year, I participate in the Race for the Cure benefit in Philadelphia. Thousands of women with designated pink shirts of survival come together to physically show the hope that I hold inside of me. When looking back, I now realize how serious and frightening my mother’s cancer was. But, it was the hope that I used to lessen my fears and face reality. This is why I will always believe that having hope can help surpass any hardship in life.