The Urgency of Hope

Are we facing stage 4 cancer?

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Hindsight-is-2020-Stage-4-Cancer- mandy-murry

Hindsight is 2020. And I think we could all agree, if we knew what the year 2020 had in store for us, we may have done some things differently. In a year of uncertainty, hope is the only thing stronger than fear. We have all faced fear at some level during the pandemic, and for many, fear feels constant. The storms both literally and mentally have been heavier than many of us know or remember. The glue holding it all together has been hope or the idea of something good to come.

Technology has become a more enhanced method of communication than ever. A friend on Facebook posted a photo on October 13, 2020, with the caption, “We have not had any touch or been closer than 6 feet since mid-March from anyone not living in the house. It has been so hard! But yesterday my daughter was given some PPE gear and we hugged! My granddaughter was so excited! There were tears all around!” 

This friend has stage 4 cancer. COVID stopped her outside world- Not for a moment, but forever. 

Many discuss this “New Normal” of living- adapting and adjusting routines, habits, and space. Change has been inevitable for all. Tough times have resulted in complete losses. Lives have been taken. Businesses destroyed. And while fear has been allowed to creep in more often than not, the American grit of hope and strength is still alive. From a six-month in-the-waiting hug to communities coming together after natural disasters, and everything in between, the desire to lift the soul and spirit is greater than ever. 

#hopeiseverywhere is a hashtag Convoy of Hope has proven. When the pandemic shut down schools and businesses, the non-profit organization set out to distribute 10 million meals to Americans hardest-hit by the Coronavirus. With their support team, they have now delivered over 100 million meals, almost enough to feed one-third of the U.S. population. This is only one example of hope, as communities from across the nation, have come together to feed those in need during this time.

Cancer resource community, Cancer Horizons, has remained ready to serve the needs of cancer patients, working to send hope and encouragement in the forms of products, referrals, and a listening ear, as many patients cannot interact beyond their home or hospital bed.

Billie’s razors is focusing on giving 1% off its revenue to supporting BIPOC (which stands for Black, Indigenous, and people of color) women.

Yoga studios have adapted to online methods and tools to support mental wellbeing. One studio, Suvita, in a suburb of Salt Lake City, UT is offering support and a place for the LGBTQIA+ community to come together. 

Avadim Health donated waterless bathing wipes to a long term care facility in West Virginia when the city of Gary’s water system failed. The company is now on a mission to educate about the transmission zone of infection- the eyes, nose, and mouth. Helping thousands of those at risk feel safer this year.

Examples of people setting aside agendas or differences to support or do what it takes are many. The common thread- people working together for a common purpose-

Giving to help the needs of others.

Gifts and donations whether in the forms of financial support, products, or time have been the encouragement of “good” moving forward. 

Giving behavior of individuals and organizations goes unreported or unrecognized as it does not sprawl across our national news sources. Headlines come and go. As we look back on 2020, we see discomfort. Dis-ease in all sorts. Fires. Hurricanes. COVID. There is also rage, pain, ignorance. 

The only thing constant of 2020, is the struggle of separation. The distance from what we’ve known, the lack of connection, and the divisive nature of issues. 

As a former cancer patient, change is inevitable. A cancer diagnosis turns a person’s world upside down overnight, a patient must cling to hope. At that moment all of a sudden everything matters and lifestyle changes become a necessity. Food consumed, products used, and how we care for ourselves becomes a priority. 

2020 feels as though as a nation we are facing stage 4 cancer. 

In a TEDx talk, I mentioned the idea that we are more connected and disconnected than ever before. And while there has been great discussion on the importance of self-care, have we missed the conversation of self-awareness. 

How we speak and act is more important than ever. Giving, supporting, reaching out, and listening to the needs of others is the glue we all need to persevere. 

Humans, people… us– we are made for connection. Waiting six months for a hug from a granddaughter is hard on the spirit. Not having the financial means to eat empties the spirit. Losing access to water to clean germs away during a pandemic scares the spirit. Not being heard devastates the spirit. 

Hindsight is 2020. For those nurturing the spirit and providing hope, thank you. This is what it takes to reverse the spread of cancer. 

When the lights go out, let’s keep dancing in the dark. #hopeiseverywhere

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