A couple of weeks ago, my friend Jill was diagnosed with breast cancer. After determining her type and her course of treatment, she decided to have a radical mastectomy followed by a 15 month treatment of chemotherapy and radiation --
Upon getting the news, Jill didn't hesitate to call for help...realizing that this fight was bigger than her petite, just-over-5-foot frame. And, with four children, she knew that there was absolutely no way she could undertake her fight alone.
Jill's mastectomy is scheduled for this Thursday, and Jill's sister Stacey asked all of Jill's friends to gather together last night for one big group hug. And it was a great idea.
And so, at least 40 of Jill's friends and family came together, channeling all their strength and adding it to Jill's...demonstrating that she isn't alone on her road to perfect health.
I couldn't help but think of a metaphor...of how a commander would call together his troops the night before a battle and celebrate their strength...donning armor, smearing war paint, sharpening their weapons...preparing for the big fight.
That's what this reminded me of...and I liked it. And as I started to think about it...I wanted to make Jill her own version of armor...a magic cloak, if you will...a prayer shawl...a visual symbol of the group hug. Something to be with her through the long hours of chemotherapy and recovery.
And I added pockets to the inside so that she could carry special prayers from those who love her...or pictures drawn by her kids...or the comics...
I believe in the strength of our collective prayers. We are so powerful when we come together to support someone we love. But it also helps to be needed...to be asked to help.
And that's what I learned from Jill this week. She didn't hesitate to say she needed us...and it was like sounding a battle horn...everyone came. And she set up a support network on Lotsahelpinghands (it's free!) to coordinate meals, childcare and chemotherapy trips.
P.S. I know there are many of you who read this blog who are cancer survivors. Jill is open to any and all suggestions that may help her in her 15-month fight if you'd care to share them.