I know it has been a while since my last post, but I wanted to take a moment to honor and remember my friend Carolyn. Carolyn and I met when I first started my treatment at Dana Farber. I remember being incredibly nervous going into my first young adult support group session. I was still coming to terms with the physical and emotional realities of my cancer recurrence, and the idea of being vulnerable with a complete group of strangers was terrifying. Sitting just a couple chairs from me was this confident, funny, vibrant woman who embraced vulnerability and created a space for others to feel safe sharing…Her name was Carolyn.
After the meeting she told me about Dana Farber’s young adult program (YAP). She was a fierce advocate for young adults with cancer. She would trek into Boston to staff the YAP table outside the hospital’s cafe. My first volunteer activity with YAP was helping Carolyn with the table. I was in awe as she passionately shared with patients, family members, healthcare workers, and complete strangers the resources available for young adults and why it was so important to have access to those resources. We later served on the patient advisory committee together, partnering to improve resources for young adults with cancer.
I felt so lucky to have met Carolyn at the early stages of my treatment. She served as an example for how I wanted to move forward with the news of my recurrence and in my life. Before her recurrence, Carolyn returned to nursing school because she wanted to give back and help people. She didn’t let the uncertainty of cancer get in the way of living. My experience with YAP was one of the core reasons I chose to enter medical school, and I would likely not have become so involved with YAP if it wasn’t for Carolyn.
To bring back one of my favorite quotes:
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.” – Stuart Scott
Our community has lost yet another wonderful human being. Throughout my experience with cancer I have met so many incredible, inspiring people who have passed far too soon. In the face of mortality and life’s fragility, these people have taught me what it truly means to live.
In the face of uncertainty, Carolyn showed me how to live, why to live, and the manner in which to live. I cannot express how grateful I am to have known Carolyn.
My thoughts are with Carolyn, her family, friends, and all whose lives she touched.
For Carolyn, GO BRADY! 🙂