As crazy as it sounds, I am grateful for my mother’s diagnosis of breast cancer.

Of course, when I first learned of her diagnosis, “grateful” was the furthest thing from my mind. However, as her treatment progressed, and she was feeling better, a new diagnosis emerged. It was discovered that she had a heart condition, which would have proven fatal if not corrected. Without the tests she underwent for her cancer treatments, she would have never known about her heart condition.

My mom underwent open-heart surgery almost five and a half years ago. She has recovered from the heart surgery, and is doing fantastic. So, if you really think about it, breast cancer saved my mother’s life.

Five years ago, while my mother was recovering from heart surgery, I was wondering how to manifest my new found gratitude. I decided to design a special t-shirt. When I spoke with my mom about the t-shirt, and how I wanted to donate the proceeds to a cause she felt strongly about, she mentioned the LIVESTRONG program at the East Bridgewater YMCA. While recovering from her cancer treatments, my mother was a member of the LIVESTRONG pilot program at the East Bridgewater YMCA. Over the course of three months, my mom worked to regain the physical and mental strength she needed to live life as a cancer survivor, not realizing that it would also help her recover from heart surgery. Through our conversations about the program, mom came to the decision that she would like all of the proceeds donated to LIVESTRONG at the YMCA.

To my mom, the LIVESTRONG program was not just exercise for the body. It was a community of survivors, bonded through circumstance, all of who really cared for each other. It truly was an experience for mind, body and soul. With the success of that trial program, six of the Old Colony YMCA branches now offer the program.

The following description of the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is from the Old Colony YMCA website:

“LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is a twelve-week, small group program designed for adult cancer survivors. This program fulfills the important need of supporting the increasing number of cancer survivors who find themselves in the transitional period between completing their cancer treatment and the shift to feeling physically and emotionally strong enough to attempt to return to their normal life or their ‘new normal’. The program is conducted outside of medical facilities to emphasize that LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is about health, not disease.”

Through the generosity of family and friends, and people we have met along the way, the Hope Campaign has raised a total of $6,000 over the past four years, all of which has been donated to the LIVESTRONG program at the East Bridgewater YMCA. 

My goal is to continue the Hope Campaign on a yearly basis, because honestly, I will always be grateful.

The 2017 Hope Campaign t-shirt is available in a crew neck or v-neck styles, as well as a tank top.

As always, thank you for your support.