It had been sitting on my desk for a while. I was afraid to open it. Who knew what information it may contain? That envelope that was addressed to me – from the Canadian Cancer Society – could only bring me news about cancer. I figured that couldn’t be good.
Yesterday, I finally mustered up the courage to dig my head out of the sand where it had been buried. This is what I read:
“I am writing to notify you that at the recent Alvin Barnes Memorial Golf Tournament the Barnes family asked that the event be held in honor of you, Stacey.
The annual golf tournament has over the years supported the Canadian Cancer Society and the money raised from events like this tournament lead the way in the fight against cancer.”
Yup. I was stunned. How would you react? I cried. I guess that’s not a surprise. And then I wondered if I should have cried? So I stopped. I thought about it and then re-considered that maybe I should feel grateful? Maybe sad? After all, the host of the Alvin Barnes Memorial created this tournament in honor of her late husband. I knew how devastating it had been for her to lose him. I knew how much she still grieved the loss of this man. And I also know how much she tried to keep his memory alive. Maybe I should have felt honored? I did. That year – she dedicated the event to me? Guess that meant I had cancer? Well – I did.
It is shocking to realize that I had cancer. Sometimes I look at my scar and think everything was such a distant memory – it is hard to believe what we all went through. Thank God that time seems to be kind in that it allows one to forget the bad things. I guess no one would have more than one baby otherwise! In any case – I realized that not only did I have cancer – but it had affected everyone else around me. Indeed cancer is a disease that spreads. It spreads through one’s body and one’s community. I did not lay down the gauntlet and give up – and clearly neither did my friends.
My friend’s life-partner did pass away. His struggle, though, allowed me to live. Through the funds raised by the Alvin Barnes Memorial and so many other fund-raising activities, lives have been saved. Mine is no exception.
Alvin Barnes’ life has taken on a new significance for me. Although I never did meet him, Alvin has become a part of the community of people who have supported my family and I in our time of need – and literally put me back on my feet that I may hope for a longer life.
I so wish to thank you, KJ (who has always preferred to keep a low profile and so will not mention her by name) for this renewed inspiration. I hope I have explained myself well enough that you can understand the legacy you have created through your work to fight cancer.
And thank-you for that letter, soon to be framed.