This week, I lost my best friend to cancer. I read that sentence and I still can’t believe it’s true.
She was diagnosed with leukemia at the end of April when she went to the doctor about a cough. It’s less than five months later and she’s gone.
For the record, she was the best person I have ever known and the best friend I could ever ask for. She always had a smile on her face, she always had something encouraging to share, and she just made life better. She had also just finished her first year of medical school (below is a picture from the day she found out she was accepted). She was determined to change the world.
Instead of curing illnesses or delivering babies, meeting her future husband and having kids of her own (her greatest dream of all), or anything else worth mentioning, she’s gone. And tomorrow I have to stand in an auditorium filled with people grieving the loss of the best person I’ve ever known. What’s fair about that?
When I got the phone call on Monday afternoon, I couldn’t breathe. It felt like someone had me pinned to the ground, holding me down by my chest, refusing to let me up, with pressure building and building and building. And every day since I’ve walked around with a hole in my chest and a lump in my throat and I wonder: Will it always feel this way?
On Tuesday, I began to feel this hot, burning rage bubble up inside me. Cancer stole someone precious from me and I can never get her back. And with that rage came the determination to stop it in its tracks. Families and friends should not have to mourn these losses anymore. Tori got 24 years of life and I am immensely grateful to have experienced the last five of those by her side. But families and friends of these young children fighting this disease don’t have time like that. Children like Isabella and Imogen deserve to experience their futures: the high school heartbreaks, the all-nighters, the weddings, the babies– the LIFE.
So I write to you today in the midst of my heartache, in the midst of fighting with the hole in my chest and the lump in my throat, to beg you to take action. Go read Erin’s posts through the ISF social media accounts about what cancer has stolen from her and her family– they will show you what it feels like and they will break your heart. And then don’t just say “that’s sad” or shake your head– DO. SOMETHING. Sign up for the ISF 5K/10K next week, donate to ISF, organize a fundraiser– it doesn’t matter what but DO SOMETHING.
I’m moving forward with my training alongside the Dream Team with an even stronger passion. It is such a blessing to have them behind me. I got a text on Tuesday with the image above showing two of my friends running for Tori. As Nichole said in her message, “Cancer’s got to go.” Let’s kick it to the curb– for Isabella, for Imogen, for Tori, for everyone else who fought the fight valiantly, and for those who are still fighting.