Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Celebrating Survivorship

I was chosen to be the keynote speaker for the 4th Annual Survivorship Day Celebration at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  They contacted me back in February and asked me if I would be interested in sharing my story.  Without a second thought I of course said yes!  I was very honored to have been chosen.  Although I was a patient there I had never been to this event.  It is a wonderful event bringing together cancer survivors, their friends as well as families.  It is a celebration of life.

When I found out about it I let my dad know and I asked if he would be able to be there that day.  He told me in an email (which was our main means of communication) that it was great news and he would be there if he could, if he was still around.  I wondered that much as well.  As the date drew closer I would bring it up and he began telling me he wasn't sure.  When I saw him on his birthday in April I finally saw how sick and weak he had become.  I stopped asking.  I still secretly hoped he would be there.  He died on June 2nd and I gave my speech a week later on the 10th.  Wondering how the hell I would still be able to do it I knew somehow I had to, it was too important to me.  I didn't want to let anyone down most of all myself.  It was very hard to get up in front a room full of people with all the sadness in my heart. It was hard to be at an event to celebrate my own cancer survivorship when he just lost his life to cancer.   But I did it, enjoyed it and hopefully inspired everyone there.  I even made them laugh!  Although I  had just lost so much somehow I hung on to my sarcasm.

I thought of my dad and wished that he could have seen me, that he could have been there.  In a way it was like he made sure he was....

Click here and  head on over to the page for the video clip of my speech.  Beware though it is 25 minutes long,  but I think it is worth it!  :)

Let me know what  you guys think!

2 comments:

Duane said...

What a graceful post, Cathy.

You did such a terrific job that evening and I'm sure you inspired many others there in attendance with your wit and honesty. Without a doubt, you inspired me!

I'm sure your dad would have loved to be there, but I'm sure he's proud of you nevertheless. :)

Cathy said...

Thanks so much Duane! I am go glad you were there. and thanks for the kind words about my dad.
:)