The story of a Cancer Thriver.
In December 2013, after 3 months of doctor visits, scans, ultrasounds, and 3 hospital stays; my worst fears came true. I have cancer. Stage IV Ovarian Cancer.
What? I'm only 35. I'm young, vibrant. I'm healthy. I'm a single mom. How can this be? What do I do? What will my children think? They need me. What about my family? My friends? I have a lot left to accomplish. Thousands of questions flooded my brain. None of them about surgery, treatment or what doctor or when or how. It was all about my family, my friends, my life. I was so worried--for them.
Once the shock receded, I remembered watching my Aunt Kymme in the last 2 weeks of her life cancer and the great amount of grief we all suffered. I remember the words she pronounced the day she was diagnosed: "I'm never going to see my children grow up." I thought about what Stage IV cancer meant... Stop. Don't go there. You can't EVER say that. You can't proclaim that. You have to want to live. You have to know you will live. You have to believe it. You can never give up!
I could never have imagined that choosing life also meant being an example to my family, my friends, and countless number of strangers and onlookers. Everyone was watching. I decided to be authentic and intimate about my survival journey and documented much of it on social media. I announced that each week at chemotherapy I would wear my red cowboy boots and bright red lipstick and I made it my mantra. My choice to not simply survive, but to thrive. My tiny spark became the fire that is now Red Thursday. It has its own identity. It lives outside of me, and it is POWERFUL.
Red Thursday is a Movement.
Funny, cancer was a blessing to me. It changed my life for the better. My personal growth is astounding, my relationship with my Heavenly Father, my family and friends are all deeper, more real. I love more and I live more. I laugh more and occasionally, I cry more. I am intense, but I also know how to actually relax. I savor my experiences and indulge in every moment. I have the opportunity to change others' lives; and to make an impact so deep that hope abounds. I am more thankful and gracious and I look for ways to share my zeal for life with others. I truly want to give my life away. My life is not my own. It's not about me, it is all about living and doing what Red Thursday means: encouraging, inspiring and spreading hope. My life's work is to continue this mission. Imagine all the lives we can touch, and the families we can bolster in the process. Imagine if people knew that no matter their diagnosis, they can choose to live and live abundantly!
Please join the movement! Wear red on Thursday to start. Share my Thriver story. Volunteer to visit treatment centers. Give to Red Thursday Foundation, so we can give all we have to cancer patients. They need our love and support so they can be Thrivers too!
All My Love,
Elana K. Wight, Founder and Cancer Thriver