A month has passed since we held our annual event at the Robert Matzke gymnasium and the funds keep coming in for us, The V Foundation, and cancer research in general...but this past week has helped to show us the cost of cancer and why it's so important that we keep going in this fight.
On our Facebook group we had mentioned a while back that we were keeping a few individuals in our prayers as they faced their battle with cancer, Diane Suave and Jeannette Ste. Marie were both battling ovarian cancer, the type which took our mother Diane in 2006. We also gave a link to follow Jeanette's journey through her CaringBridge site: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jeannettestemarie
But people battle cancer in different ways. Thanks to sites like CaringBridge people are able to keep friends, family and loved ones up-to-date with what's going on with their fight and are able to give the masses a way to communicate their well wishes and to start prayer chains and various other things.
But others fight their fight rather locally. They don't necessarily want the attention and would rather just centralize their struggle with their family. Both ways are extremely appropriate, it all depends on how you choose to live your life and what seems like the best way to you. It's your fight and you get to do it however you choose.
When our mom fought her fight we didn't choose to keep people posted on how things were going, partly because we were so unsure of the outcome that I think we thought that if we didn't put too much attention on it that we wouldn't be hurt as bad if things didn't turn out as we hoped for, and I think also we weren't as ready to face it head on as we probably thought we were.
Diane Suave's fight was also fought much like our mom's. The family is a fantastic one and one which I'm so glad to call friends, but they decided that they didn't necessarily want to put their struggle out there for everyone to follow along with, like us. It does't stop people from caring, and it doesn't stop them from reaching out. We live in a pretty small town so no matter where we were in our journey, or the Suave's were in their's, the community knew.
Unfortunately last night Diane Suave's fight against cancer ended. A week prior to Diane's passing another great friend of ours lost his father, Jay French, to cancer as well. Once again, Jay's fight was known among the community of Cromwell, MN where he lived but it wasn't until he passed away that I learned that he had been battling cancer.
Diane Suave, Jay French, and Jeannette Ste. Marie are all fighters, and are great examples of why we continue our fight. It was our goal to find a cure for cancer so that our friends, family, and people everywhere wouldn't have to go through the same heart ache we've gone through since losing our mom. Diane and Jay have now joined the angels looking down on all of us, but they leave behind some of the greatest people that I know, their children and significant others, and these individuals couldn't be a better testament as to who Diane and Jay were and what they did with their time here.
Their time was cut entirely too short but it's what they did with the time they were given that inspires me, the impact they made and the individuals that they helped to shape. One of the greatest things I've ever heard said about the fight against cancer was said by Stuart Scott in his acceptance speech of the Jimmy V Award at the 2014 ESPY's, "When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live."
It was one of the most moving things I had heard and it really hit home because when we lost our mom to cancer I never really thought that she had lost her battle to cancer because she fought so hard. It's how I felt about my mom, about Diane, about Jay, and countless others who have fought, but more importantly had truly lived. It changed my outlook on life in general, as did the loss of my mom. Life's not about passing the time, it's not about our faults or failures. It's about what we do with our time here, about our perseverance in the face of adversity and the manner in which we spend our time here, however long that may be.
Since we lost our mother and have taken up the torch to try and find a cure for cancer we have heard countless stories, both good and bad about individuals fight against cancer. Every story of loss breaks my heart, but we also get to hear those good stories of people who were never supposed to make it, but did. We get to follow along with the Ste. Marie family's journey and see and hear of their struggle and perseverance, and days like today when our hearts weigh heavy with the loss of two great individuals we get to read about Jeannette, and we're offered hope...and Hope's what keeps us going. Hope that Diane, Jay, and our mother Diane didn't fight for nothing, that their fight may mean a cure for Jeannette and others like her.
Surprisingly I'm not big on prayer...I don't really have a good excuse for why I'm not, but today I say a little prayer for Diane, Jay and their families. I offer my sympathy for their loss, and hope they know that if they need anything that we're always here for them. I also offer Hope to the Ste. Marie family, that we'll keep following their journey and pray for them all. We hope for time, and the ability to do our best with the days we're given. One day we'll all leave this beautiful place, we just hope it's left a little bit better by our time here.