October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and the Anderson Companies have been proud sponsors for both the American Cancer Society and the Fredericksburg Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. Donating money and joining in on raising awareness is important, but sometimes we wish to do more. Sharing one's story of survival or loss can bring perspective and comfort to others. We are proud to have Laura, a survivor working here at Anderson.
As a school assignment, her daughter, Sarah, had written about their experience of living and surviving a battle with breast cancer. It may have started as a school assignment, but for us, it turned into a story of hope. In an open letter to others, here is Laura's story of survival through the eyes of her now 17-year old daughter.
When I was five my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the time, I thought it was good news; it meant that I could spend more time with her and she could stay home with me. I didn't realize how serious her diagnosis was. I thought she was merely sick and getting better would be easy, but I was wrong.
At first there was no change, my mom was the same bubbly mom I was used to, looking back I realize she was trying to hide the symptoms so she wouldn't worry us. But some moments she couldn't hide, like the numerous doctor's appointments taking hours and her fatigue. She seemed happy though she didn't have to work and we were always used to her positivity and perseverance which helped us get through. Some days were better than others and my mom reminded me and my siblings that the doctor said she was slowly getting better, but to me, it seemed like she was getting worse. I remember someone telling me cancer could kill her, I didn't believe it was possible. I told her about my encounter and she told me I had nothing to worry about, she was in the process of beating cancer's butt.
Hope. People tell me today it's getting harder and harder to find hope, I disagree. At such a young age I understood the word in depth. I have forgotten many things from my childhood, but having hope is not one of them. One of the memories I have from my mother's journey was when we were in a church prayer circle and everyone had their hands on my mom, they were crying and afterwards everyone gives my mom and me a hug, I guess at that moment I really experienced hope. The odds were against us but somehow we knew my mom would be fine.
May 6, 2005. My mom was cancer-free. After a long year of fighting, my mom had finally won. She was better! I no longer had to worry about her dying, she was better and everyone in my family was overjoyed. Her experience was also my experience. We lived this nightmare together, but it ended up becoming a dream. I got to spend an entire year with my mom and our battle had taught me a lot, such as that giving up was never an option, it taught me that finding hope is more than just an action, it's a way of life. Most of all, it taught me that family will always be there no matter the circumstance. Our experience helped shape me to become the person I am today; I always look at the bright side and I don't look at doubt as an issue, I look at doubt as a challenge I can overcome.
Laura believes that she has a message to bring others and we see her message as one of hope and compassion; it is never more present than in these words from her daughter.
We have no greater way to express the love and respect that we have for our employees, customers, friends and families than to show compassion and understanding for the struggles they face every day. We would like to thank Sarah for so eloquently expressing her admiration for her mother's courage and for allowing us to share her message of hope.