A friend of mine asked if I wanted to participate in a Relay For Life that was coming up in July of 2017. She and I had co-captained a team a couple of years ago, and we have both participated before on other teams.  Of course I agreed, seeing how this particular Relay would be a bit more special.

You see, my co-captain was recently diagnosed with Stage 1 Breast Cancer.  That being said, surgery has already taken place, radiation treatments scheduled and it appears she will make a full recovery (thankfully).

The Relay we are participating in will take place a month after my sister's five-year angelversary of losing her breast cancer battle.  I have started a program to help local cancer warriors feel remembered by their community.

That being said, I started thinking, how could I posted on the Program's page about joining our team. Why would people want to join us?  Then I started thinking of different tag-lines to get people thinking. The one aspect I kept returning to was, "Cancer makes you humble".

That might be an odd way to think about it. Not only does the person battling cancer learn humility, but so do those he/she is closest to learns as well.  Let's stop and think about this.  I remember my sister, fiercely independent, always the first to help out, lose the ability to hold anything in her right hand.  She couldn't take care of her three children alone, she couldn't drive to her appointments.  The simple act of making dinner became a burden.  She needed to ask for help.  My proud mother, who never allowed her family to receive government assistance, even when we truly needed it, had to learn to ask for help for her daughter.  When the cancer progressed and created an inoperable mass on her spine, taking away the ability to walk, she definitely needed more help.

I have never experienced chemotherapy, but I know it's hard on the body.  I know, from first-hand accounts from family, the vomiting, the weakness, the not wanting to move out of bed...pretty much robs you of independence.  You have to learn to ask for help.

After a surgery, while you are still sore, taking pain pills, gaining your strength back, while an angry incision reminds you what your body went through, requires you to ask for help.  You might be able to function, but perhaps you're not cleared to drive or lift maybe more than 10 lbs. at a time.  Ask for help.

So, I thought, this would be a good blogging article.  To remind people, you can be independent; someone's rock and at some point, esp. if you have been diagnosed with cancer, you will need to admit, even if it's just to yourself, that you need help. If you are lucky enough to have family and friends who care about you, if you can't ask for help, learn to accept what they are offering.  

It takes a strong person to admit they need help; it's not a weakness to ask or accept it!

It's definitely the horse-pills of pills to have to swallow your pride.  I was 3,000 miles away for the majority of my sister's battle.  However, while I was home, I did whatever needed doing.  Sometimes, I responded to a request for this or that.  Other times, I took it upon myself to make sure everyone ate. I'm the cook in the family, since my dad passed, and it was something I could easily do and I knew they would appreciate it.  Truth be told, it was a simple gesture that helped me as much as them.

I am fortunate enough to be helping cancer warriors in my community.  A friend needed a ride and I made sure I was there to drive.  If getting some blankets donated, purchasing a few journals so they can record their thoughts, or providing a gas or store gift card so they can get needed items, then I will do my little part.  I can't help everyone, but I can help one person at a time and make their battle just a little easier.

What can you do?  

Perhaps drop off a meal each week to someone with cancer.  Offer to drive them to an appointment or even to church.  Babysit?  The kids could use some time away too.  Support local programs that help those in your community.  Join a Relay for Life team and walk a few laps, work the booth, register people as they arrive.  There are endless options for you to choose from.

We all have our battles.  We all have our pride.  Sometimes cancer teaches us humility.  Embrace the lesson.  You are not alone. 

If you would like to donate to the Kathi Cares Program Team, please click here.