For and about Cancer Survivors in Second Life, and for anyone who has been touched by cancer

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Why Fay Fights ... One Step at a Time

When Fayandria Foley came to Hope Haven to lead a "Fighting Spirit" session on December 20 we had another big turnout - and not only of cancer survivors. Because Fay is not only a survivor herself, she is also Chair of SL's Relay For Life. It was a very timely session to lead in to the kick-off for SL's Relay For Life 2008. And this year's Relay is about Fighting Back.

Fay went to the doctor to check out a small "freckle". When she heard it was melanoma she thought she was going to die, that cancer was a death sentence, and that she didn't want the pain and loss of dignity that she associated with cancer. She had, she says, NO fight in her. She was ready just to sit in a chair and wait for it to happen. But she learned that while it WAS once a death sentence, medical research and technology have taken huge strides forward. Now she's optimistic. And she knows that she doesn't want to die.

Fay doesn't really consider that she herself has fighting spirit. When she was going through treatment, she was simply following a path set out by her doctors. "Right foot, left foot, right foot, take the pain, make it happen ..." But she went on to say "I'm living with cancer, facing what I have and where I'm going. I'm fighting for you, my children, your children, and when it comes down to it I suppose yes I am fighting for me. What made the difference, what got me out of my chair? It was YOU. Thank you for sharing your stories, your life, so that I had a reason to get up and keep going."

Fay's advice for someone who faces the diagnosis of cancer or indeed any catastrophic disease is " ... to look deep inside yourself and see what matters ... to me it's not the house I live in or the car I drive, it's about my friends, the ones who held me when I got my diagnosis and helped me through each step of the treatment. It's about how the children I know will live their lives out."

And above all, she said, "Cancer gave me the motivation to Relay. we have to go out, fight, do battle. My chicken way of sitting in a chair and waiting won't help us win. Relay is a point of meeting, taking, doing, actively participating, getting money for research, and getting money for getting information out there. When you know in your heart that you and your caregiver are facing this thing together Relay gives hope, communication, strength... it also increased my spirituality, made me realise there is a reason why everything happens, why we're walking this track... It's not *my* cancer, it's cancer, and we're going to tackle it together ... "

hmmmm --- if that's not "fighting spirit", I wonder what is?

If you would like a complete text including the Q&A session please IM me, Poppy Zabelin, in Second Life.