Thrive - to progress toward or realize a goal despite or because of circumstances. Thrive was my brother Matthew Foe's mission in living with cancer. He was a constant optimist. He believed negativity only led to negative outcomes. He believed so much in THRIVE that he had the word tattooed behind his ear. Everyday his mission was to Thrive to Survive.
While supporting and advocating for Matt, I learned that there wasn't the much needed financial support he and his family needed. Matt was not looking for a hand out, he was looking for a short term solution to his inability to work after surgery and during treatments. Matt and his family made it through the hard times with support from family and friends, but not without difficulties.
Nine years after Matt's diagnosis with brain cancer, and after learning way more than I ever wanted to know about cancer, myself and two friends decided it was time to make a change and try to utilize our knowledge and experience in a proactive and positive way to help adults with cancer thrive through their own journeys.
I believe that positive interactions can only lead to improved outcomes, and I have experienced first hand that a community that supports one another is capable of making a difference in the life of someone with cancer.
"Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons." - Ruth Ann Schabacker.
I know all too well the hardships of a journey plagued by cancer. In April of 2010, my then 10-year-old son Max was diagnosed with brain cancer. It is hard to describe the feelings of desperation at diagnosis; the struggle of the first few weeks as you try to regain some normalcy, the consuming fears of this fight, the helplessness you feel watching someone you love suffer, the first moments when hair begins to fall out, the darkest moments late a night when sleep eludes you, the constant pleas for a cure, and sadly the list goes on and on.
For us, support came in abundance. Family and friends were first to rally, and within moments we were surrounded with arms full of kindness, hearts full of love, and minds believing in a cure. For a family with a child with a life-threatening disease, opportunities for support are unobstructed.
I believe everything happens for a reason, even though at times the answers to "Why?" seem cruel and unfair. I knew then, that this happened to our family for a purpose, and I knew that good would prevail. It was shown to us in the countless tiny miracles that we encountered during this endeavor.
So now, I am here to give back. Perhaps it is my way of being in control (I am an elementary teacher after all). But truthfully, I am a fixer. When I hear of someone newly diagnosed, I want to take away all the pain this tough fight entails. In a sense, I want to protect all those I know from this cruel and unfair cancer world.
But I am also a realist, and I know some things are out of my control. Being able to support someone with cancer is not though, and it is my mission to be able to dig deep and always help others find hope, courage, and gratitude. My eyes are open to the world and I hope to inspire others to never again take one single moment in life for granted. I want to encourage everyone to Thrive To Survive.
"We don't know who we are until we see what we can do." Unknown
Geneva has given meaning to this quote for me over and over. My heart has been broken and pulled in so many directions when hearing my dad had cancer, my cousin at the age of 14, my mom, my mother in law, my friend's son, my friend's brother, me, another cousin, a friend, ...my list goes on and on. It's too big and too painful to simply go along without trying to make a difference. That's what our community has always been about, Geneva that is. Not every community is willing to get as involved that I know firsthand. Personally I am a doer, a fixer, and as a special education teacher for 32 years there was always a list to do, things to fix, children to educate. This role has been my life. Now I want to continue to support Geneva adults with cancer, and help them to make the most of their journey...to Thrive to Survive!
"You never know how strong you are 'til being strong is the only choice you have." Cayla Mills
BELIEVE...!! Believe as my friends and I do that together we all can make one another THRIVE TO SURVIVE!!