For us parents, one of our greatest fears (among others) is not being able to see our children grow up. Imagine becoming a mother for the very first time to a beautiful little girl, she’s everything you’ve ever wanted (and more), then three months later, you’re grappling with the news that you have cancer and only have three moths to live. How do you wrap your head around that? Instead of enjoying the next following months nurturing your baby, enjoying every single milestone, you end up miles away from her, fighting for your life with every ounce of strength you have in you.
This isn’t a scare story not one of those ‘what ifs’ you sometimes hear, followed by a hush, an uncomfortable silence and then the sudden talk about the weather. It did happen. It happened to one mother, her name is Heather Von. St. James. This is her story and the good news is that, she is here to tell it too. As I’m typing this, there are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, close friends who are living with this very fear we dread. Hoping it won’t happen to us, to any of our loved ones or close friends. But it does happen. It can happen to anyone.
The 4th of January is World Cancer Day 2015 and in honour of that, I am sharing her story.
Heather St. James was 36, when she gave birth to her lovely little girl named Lily Rose. After three months, she was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, a kind of cancer that is caused by asbestos. Her dad worked in construction and as a child, she liked to wear her dad’s work-coat at home. Unknown to her and everyone, there was a silent killer that clung to that coat. Years later, it would threaten to kill her.
After a life-saving surgery that removed her left lung, she survived this deadly cancer and is able to care and be there for her lovely little girl.
Today marks her 9th year anniversary of the removal of her lung, which she and her family calls Lung Leaving Day. You can watch her heartwarming story here:
Heather’s greatest fear is for the cancer to come back, so in celebration of her Lung Leaving Day, her family and closest friends, get together and write their fears on plates, and then smash them in a fire. She invites you to join in, identify your greatest fear and smash it. You can do so by clicking here.
Have you said your goodbyes to your fears? I have. My greatest fear is losing my daughter and just like Heather, not being able to see and be there for her when she grows up. I know it is an irrational fear, since I am healthy (knock on wood), but I also know that it can also happen to me. It can happen to anyone (as mentioned already). In commemorating Heather’s Lung Leaving Day, I too have smashed my fears.
What is your greatest fear?
Do share Heather’s story too.