By Ginger Kadlec — get free updates of new posts here.
Indulge me, if you will, as I share a story very close to my heart… a story of perseverance, grit and survival.
On September 23, 2014, a dear college friend of mine, Michelle Snayd Hirsh, was given a medical diagnosis that changed her life on a dime… she had Stage III pancreatic cancer.
Now, if you don’t know much about this type of cancer, it’s one of the hardest to detect early which sadly makes it one of the deadliest. Unfortunately, it’s a very tough cancer to beat.
But then again, Michelle is a very tough lady.
A few Kappa Alpha Theta sorority sisters and I traveled to New York to join Michelle, along with her wonderful family and friends for an evening fundraiser and 50th birthday party (Happy Big 5-0, Michelle – welcome to “The Club”!). We also were privileged to hear Michelle deliver a keynote address to what I estimate must have been a couple thousand people who gathered on the picture-perfect morning of April 17, 2016 in Rye, New York, to participate in the Lustgarten Foundation walk to raise much needed funds for pancreatic cancer research.
Ever gracious, courageous and strong, Michelle’s inspirational words resonated with the large crowd, addressing not only the brave warriors who are battling this awful disease, but everyone facing challenges and hurdles in their lives.
“So many times in life we wonder why we’re not making progress like we think we should or as quickly as we want,” Michelle shared. “What we really need to do is stop, reassess, readjust and then continue on.”
I invite you to take a few moments to listen to Michelle’s inspirational address. As I stood in the crowd (trying desperately not to cry and hold my iPhone steady while recording), I was deeply moved by her courageous message and couldn’t help but relate it to children and adult survivors of abuse…
Once again, Michelle’s life recently changed on a dime. After enduring 19 months of chemotherapy, she underwent a successful surgery just yesterday (April 18, 2016) to remove the tumor. This life-saving surgery is indeed a blessing. Now her journey of recovery begins…
“NEGU… Never, ever give up,” Michelle encouraged. “It’s an acronym we can all live by… we never know when life can change on a dime and we need to keep going.”
Thank you, Michelle, for your leadership, grace, strength and never-ending smile… you are an inspiration to all of us lucky enough to know you! And, my dear, you do indeed epitomize one of your favorite quotes,
“She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her way,
she adjusted her sails.”
– Elizabeth Edwards
Here’s to some well-deserved gentle breezes and smooth sailing coming your way soon! ♥
You can help!
Most of us have been touched in some way by this horrible form of cancer. YOU can help by supporting the Lustgarten Foundation’s work in pancreatic cancer research. The cool thing about this organization is all of its operational overhead is underwritten so that 100% of all donations go directly to pancreatic cancer research. Join me in supporting the Lustgarten Foundation today. They are wonderful folks — if you have questions, just give ’em a buzz at (866) 789-1000.
Raising awareness of the world-wide epidemic of child abuse has become Ginger’s life mission. An impassioned child advocate, trainer, speaker and trained child forensic interviewer, Ginger regularly blogs about child protection issues. Along with her husband John and pets Lexi and Chase, Ginger enjoys traveling, skiing, hiking, brisk mornings, colorful sunsets and just hangin’ at home with “the Pack”.
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