I have cancer, but cancer doesn't have me.
-Bert Salisbury, while fighting cancer
Sometime my amazing students make me laugh so hard I fall over. Sometimes they make me cry so hard that I feel I will melt. They are so courageous and smart and inventive and loving. They inspire me to be my best self.
One of these students is Lynae Olsen. Lynae has had multiple classes from me and she and I just "click" on so many levels. I love her spirit, her smarts, her honesty and her humor. When she walks in, a bit of sunshine enters the room. She also has a huge heart.
In the past year, Lynae has heard me talk about Vicky Westra, my dear friend in Moorhead, Minnesota who has stage four breast cancer. Vicky is so much more than just that. She oozes gratitude and life and giving and compassion. She is graceful and gracious in the eye of a storm.
She has a faith that inspires all of us as she lives every day as if it was her last. Vicky is real and doesn't minimize the pain, yet she has a perspective about loving life that teaches all of us who know her. I value every day of my life even more because I know and love Vicky. She is a writer, a photographer, a devoted wife to Rick and an amazing Mom to Nolan and Colton. She is such a supportive friend. This will be her first Mother's day without her Mom, as her Mom just passed away.
And Vicky has cancer that has spread to different parts of her body. She regularly has infusion and has had radiation and there are tumors in some places that are growing. It's a heck of a lot to take in.
Lynae has heard all of this about Vicky. It has torn at her heart, just as it has torn at mine.
So Lynae decided to do something. That is so like her. There is a run-for-the-cure this weekend in Spokane and Lynae has gathered her friends, male and female, to run in this race.
What brings me to tears is that they are running it for Vicky.
This group of crazy, wonderful young men and women have entered this race for the cure in Vicky's name.Vicky will be up on the "Wall of Honor." And to top it all off, those crazy young folks are wearing pink. Pink to fight cancer. Not just any pink, or calm and ordinary pink, pink bedazzled bras (even the guys) to send a message of love to Vicky.
Lynae just sent me the most amazing picture of her friend Randy's costume for the run, a bright pink satin bra, with lots of sparkles that says, in handwritten paint, "We love you Vicky." I sent the picture to Vicky in the hopes it would put a smile on her face. :)
As I write this post, tears are streaming down my face. Some of those tears are for Vicky. I believe in miracles and am praying for a miracle for my dear friend. Some of those tears are for Lynae. What a gift she has given to honor Vicky. And some of those tears are for others I love who have fought or are fighting cancer.
As my beloved Bert said, in the midst of his fight against cancer-
"I have cancer, but cancer doesn't have me." As Vicky often says, "I am fine, with a side of cancer."
Take that, you awful cancer! You don't win. Love wins every time and you can't take away the power of that love.
"We are all just walking each other home." ...