By: Patty Murray, Chairwoman and Co-founder of Hope for Two…The Pregnant with Cancer Network
My Dad, after asking how I was faring 8 months into cancer treatments and attentively listening to my replies, likened my cancer journey to a giant rollercoaster ride. The analogy resonated with me at the time and was the reality of my first five years after treatment while I was going for one test or to an appointment practically every single month. Gradually the sharp twists and turns were less frequent and life settled in. However, the rollercoaster analogy resurfaced this spring right after resolving a trying family situation (as we all have from time to time). My 16 year son, Patrick, whom I was pregnant with while diagnosed with breast cancer, took me by the shoulders and consoled me with these words in such a convicted manner, “Life is like a rollercoaster, Mom. We have so many ups in this family, there’s bound to be downs!” My Dad, Richard, and my son, Patrick Richard, not only share a common name but great wisdom.
Looking back, our Hope for Two…The Pregnant with Cancer Network journey has likewise been a giant rollercoaster ride. We turn 15 years old this fall- Happy Birthday to us! Right at the beginning, I was told by a major cancer center that they would not refer any patients to us until we hit our two year mark. They explained that the mortality rate for small non-profits is two years. Well, we blew past that milestone many years ago but had our learning curves and twists along the way. If I knew then while growing the organization what I know now I would have relaxed a bit more and took the seeming downs in stride; knowing that the high times were just around the corner. The knowledge gained from the dips became the momentum necessary to climb the next hill.
The high points in our history, which continue into our present, have been the people we have been blessed with- from the several hardworking and dedicated Board of Directors, Advisory Board members, employees, volunteers, and generous donors. With their help we have been able to keep up with the growing social media presence, recently update our website, and to create a new, faster, and more efficient database. As we celebrate our 15 years we are riding high. We will continue our trek across the globe aiding more women diagnosed with cancer while pregnant by giving them the most up to date information, hope, and support. Thank you to so many of you for helping make this a reality!
Sometimes the ride gets rough. Whether it is the cancer, organization, business, or just plain personal life journey, at times it feels like you are on a variation of Space Mountain- the Walt Disney World mega rollercoaster that is set entirely in darkness and has sharp twists, turns, drops; yet has several thrilling moments along the way. While holding on for dear life you may whisper to yourself, “I want to get off this ______ ride!” But that’s not an option. Likewise, either you are a passenger of life or not. So, I believe, and I have to take my own advice from time to time, that the best way to approach the ride(s) is to relax, breathe, and know that all of our journeys are littered with peaks and valleys- trusting that there will be more highs than lows. It is part of our human condition and it is the wonderful people that we surround ourselves with that can make all the difference. Hopefully, that is what Hope for Two does for the women we inform, give hope and support. Until next time, here’s wishing that you can treasure the mini joys and great thrills while riding your sometimes treacherous giant rollercoaster ride. ✿