Wednesday, March 4, 2009

When cancer sparks a new beginning

I received an email from a colleague last fall, asking if I could share some time to talk with her at a conference we were both attending. I was happy to do so. What she told me was astonishing, both her frankness at sharing her own cancer story with me but also how her very very difficult situation had inspired her to help other people with cancer.

For those of us who have had a cancer diagnosis of our own, we can all relate to both the challenges and the frequent desire to help others overcome those challenges. However, my colleague overcame difficulties most of us have not had to face, such as making the decision to come to another country for her cancer treatments. Fortunately, she had the financial resources to have this choice, which may have led to the depth of her desire to help others in her home country who are not so fortunate.

I urge you to read my friend's story published in her home country's (Tanzania) newspaper and send her a cyber-hug of support. Her desire and efforts bring tears to my eyes, even only having a glimpse of understanding of all her struggles and all she is trying to accomplish for her fellow citizens in Tanzania.

I'd like to close with the quotation I actually used to close my very first blog post in June 2007.

"No one could make a greater mistake than he who
did nothing because he could do only a little."
~~ Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797)

Mary, I commend you from the depths of my heart for the service you are giving to your fellow travelers. Please don't ever ever ever think that what you are doing is "little". Know that the opposite is true; your local efforts are needed, appreciated, and huge for every person you touch.

I send all my best wishes to you for many more decades of health, healing, and hope, so you may continue sharing your knowledge and your love with your country's citizens.

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

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