When I started this blog almost three years ago, I had no idea what I was looking for. People? Maybe. Friends? Kind of. But what I always knew I wanted to find were stories. Stories of real people with real problems, and how they faced it all with unreal courage. And I’m so thankful to all of you who read Coffee & Curiosity, because you guys? You inspire me each and every day. Each one of you.
This posts is dedicated to one such extraordinary woman who braved a deadly disease, and still continues to do so: Heather Von St. James. I don’t know Heather personally. I haven’t met her, and I got to know her story from her husband, Cameron, in all of two e-mails. But an inspiration isn’t measurable in words. It just is what it is.
Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare lung cancer. She had just given birth to a baby girl, Lily, and the docs had given her 15 months to live. Heather went through a critical surgery, got her left lung removed, and it’s been eight years now. Every year, on February 2nd, Heather and her family celebrate Lung Leavin’ Day, where they write their fears on a plate and then smash it. In Cameron’s words, ‘We celebrate for those who are no longer with us, for those who continue to fight, for those who are currently going through a tough time in their life, and most importantly, we celebrate life.’
One moment, one day, and so much difference in the world. All of us are afraid of one thing or the other, but the fear of death is like the common plague. Everyone’s scared of it. Why? Because even though you might not want to believe it, there is too much to lose. There are people who love you, and want to be with you. Your dreams are yours, and if you’re gone, they’ll go out with you.
Just think. You are a big part of this world, and you don’t even know it.
Giving up is the greatest tragedy, as I’ve said so many times before. So, you know, don’t do it. There are many who have it worse than you. Think about them, think about the people who love you, and keep going. There’s always going to be a light at the end of the tunnel. You’re infinite–reach out as far as you can.
Thank you to Cameron for sharing Heather’s story with me. I’ll never forget you. Wish you all the best for your future, and may LungLeavin’Day keep growing.
And you, my lovely readers, remember: it’s now or never.