What do 1000 people this past weekend all have in common?
Cancer unites us, but the Weekend of Hope ignites us. This past weekend, 1000 people gathered in the Green Mountains of Vermont to retreat, inspire, learn, laugh, and feel a common connection and bond. Living daily busy lives, managing work, children, and running errands, force many to throw on their wig, a smile, and muster up the energy to go out into society. When someone asks how are you doing, the reply is a cordial “I am fine”, followed by a silly excuse to exit the uncomfortable situation as quickly as possible.
This weekend, to those pointed and difficult moments, Survivingbreastcancer.org’s response was: “But aren’t we all just fine”…..People stopping in their tracks to share every detail, every blistering moment of the experience, the heartfelt agony that accompanies a cancer diagnosis. A woman who was not diagnosed under the unifying umbrella of cancer, came to the conference as a caregiver.
She was broken. You could see it in her stance as she leaned in, she knew she had come to the right place, she needed empathy, compassion and support. A caregiving community.
Survivingbreastcancer.org was exhibiting at the Weekend of Hope. As people flooded the exhibit booth, Laura, founder and executive director, alongside William, caregiver and board member, asked the pointed questions, “how are you”; “how far out are you” referencing the time someone was last in active treatment, or first diagnosed.
When asked, “what’s going on these days” is followed by the swelling of tears because the person answering can finally respond to the question in full honesty, acceptance, and unbiased judgment. The natural response always comes out
first, because of course, strangers want to put their best foot forward:
“I’m doing fine”. Followed by that awkward smile…
But they don’t walk away. There’s that stagnant pause just hoping for the silent life line, that acknowledgment and that permission to tell the listener what’s really going on.
Words like Trastuzumab or Pertuzumab, T-DM1 and CDK4 & 6 inhibitors are not part of a foreign language, but rather, is the language. This is community. This is support.
This is Survivingbreastcancer.org’s experience at the Weekend of Hope. Welcome to the community.