They come. By the hundreds. By the thousands.
They come heart-broken, scared, angry, frustrated and yet – they come. Many have experienced loss. Tremendous loss. Heart-breaking loss.
They are caregivers. Friends. Family. Together, they form an army.
Some are survivors who are still fighting. They are few; far too few – but they are mighty. Courageous. Inspirational. And they are growing; although slowly – their numbers are increasing.
All are giving everything they have – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Everything.
They come determined, oh-so-committed and passionate. That passion runs deep. It’s not the kind of passion you see at a stadium with 100,000 people on their feet. It’s much more than that. It is a passion that burns even in the quietest of moments, far away from any crowd. Together they are unstoppable. They move mountains.
They come from every corner of the nation and beyond. From every walk of life. They are our parents, our grandparents. Our spouses. Our brothers and sisters. Our aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces and more. They’re our friends. Our neighbors. Our co-workers.
They belong to a family they hope no one else will ever be a part of. A family they are thankful for and have great love for, but still not the family they wanted.
Their passion fuels their mission. To find answers. To make a difference. To give hope and to find hope. To connect with others who have shared experience.
Hope is the key. Real hope. Tangible hope. Something they can hold on to and feel in their heart. The kind of hope that makes them clench their fists. The kind of hope that brings tears to their eyes because they have a reason to believe. Together, they Wage Hope.
Hope is their weapon. They wield it like a sword. It is also their protection. A shield.
Losing someone is always hard. Losing someone to pancreatic cancer has a devastating impact. The fight; although incredibly fierce, is often terribly short. The odds against fighting pancreatic cancer are overwhelming. Tidal-wave overwhelming. Fall-to-your-knees overwhelming. Collapsing-in-the-arms-of –loved-one overwhelming.
“They” are the PanCAN volunteers and survivors. Magnificent. Inspirational.
It has been my profound honor to serve them. To Wage Hope with them and for them. To do whatever I could to help them move forward.
Every story has touched my heart. Every single one. Especially the stories of you, my PanCAN colleagues. Julie. Pam. Julia. Cheyenne. Sheri. Britney. Natascha. All of you working here who carry the torch for someone who has been impacted by this disease. It has been an absolute pleasure to Wage Hope with every single one of you. It has been humbling to be surrounded by such greatness. That includes those who have gone on to other places and causes.
I have often said that I came to PanCAN to make a difference and to have an impact, but I have found the impact all of you have had on me is much greater than what I was able to give.
Thank you. From my whole heart – Thank you! Thank you for allowing me to be a part of what you have done and continue to do.
Now, it’s time for me to say good-bye. I hate good-byes, but this is in fact “good-bye.” At least for now. I do not know if or when I might see you again – so rather than leaving without saying anything – I want to wish you well. All of you. Every single one of you.
I am embarking on a new journey. Next stop - Azusa Pacific University (APU). To answer the “call.” It’s a long story… and I will tell this story one day soon.
APU will be my new home and although I am leaving PanCAN – PanCAN will always be a part of me. Always.
It’s time to look forward. Onward I go. God bless.