“Pink is pretty. Pink is bright. I made a decision to live and fight.” – Breast cancer survivor slogan
On the evening of February 4, 2010, I stood at the head of a long table in a room at the Elmwood Mansion in York PA, about to share my journey to the P.I.N.K. (Power In Knowledge) group. Surrounding the table were breast cancer warriors. Some of the women were in remission, while others were “in the trenches” battling cancer. Clothing did not reveal those who were in the midst of breast reconstructive surgeries. Most of the women had hair, while a few did not. From my viewpoint, I would have never known these women were battling anything. They exuded strength and happiness that was quite commendable.
In 2005, four breast cancer survivors founded the extraordinary group known as P.I.N.K., which “seeks to create an environment in which each individual can find avenues for facing the extreme lifelong challenges with which they have been presented.” Their mission is to provide “Power Information Networking and Knowledge.” Their vision is to offer a network of information and support for those facing the diagnosis of breast cancer.
As I stood before the group of incredible woman, I felt out of place sharing my story and thought, “Why would they want to hear about my life and PKD, as I have never endured something as severe as cancer?” I had spoken to more than 80 groups prior to this evening and most of the audiences had a connection with PKD or organ donation. Despite my nervousness, I proceeded to share my triumph over adversity with polycystic kidney disease, my kidney transplant and other health hurdles. As I spoke, the women listened to my journey with warm hearts full of compassion. I could feel their understanding and love.
When I completed my presentation, the first person to approach me was Denise DelGrosso Gilliland. She spoke to me with such kindness and support for all that I have endured. Denise radiates life, love and energy. That evening gifted me with a life-long treasured friend, Denise, who has brought such happiness into my life.
“Experience is a hard teacher. She gives you the test before the lessons.” – Vernon Sanders Law
Denise and that special night taught me a valuable lesson. No matter if life has handed you cancer or PKD, we all have a strong connection and can gain so much from each other. Our fears, strengths and weaknesses are relatable. We are all warriors. Including health and living the best life we can, we are all fighting for something and that something matters.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! All my love is sent to every breast cancer warrior and their families. If you are interested in learning more about the P.I.N.K. group located in York, PA, please visit www.pinkpartnersyork.org.
What are you fighting for and what lessons have you learned while fighting PKD, cancer and/or any other hurdle in life?