Stories Of Hope
The breast cancer health crisis also directly and indirectly impacts our Nature Nate’s family. We are grateful and proud to share a few stories of hope with you. We’d love to hear your stories of hope, too. Email us at honeygiveshope@NatureNates.com to share your story. #honeygiveshope
Cynthia: My sister gives me hope.
Every month, my sisters and I declare one day “Sister Day.” We spend the day shopping, eating, and laughing until it hurts. Sister Day helps keep our spirits high and our minds off breast cancer. My sister received her diagnosis shortly after our mom died, which made the news extra hard for all of us. Radiation reduced her lump to the size of a pea. We hope she can continue treatment through her insurance, and answer our families’ prayers.
Of course, it’s my job as her little sister to keep her laughing, and I have to remind her that God isn’t ready for her and the devil doesn’t want her because she’s too ornery!
She never hesitates to fire back “Shut up, woman!” See—God doesn’t give trials to weak people, and Nellie is far from weak.
Fred: My mother gives me hope.
My mother was the backbone of our family. Never sick at all, maybe just a cold here and there. So her cancer was a shock. In 2004, all of a sudden she started feeling pain, so I took her to the hospital. The cancer was too far along to do anything. She spent six days in the hospital before we made hospice arrangements. Just like that, it was over—no time to say goodbye, no time to ask for forgiveness. After the funeral, my two aunties received testing and my baby sister went through treatment. All three underwent chemotherapy and it’s a blessing they survived.
Underinsured, low-income women like my Mom can’t pay for the medical expenses that come with cancer, so they avoid it altogether. I can’t help but think that maybe mom would’ve made it if we had caught it sooner. Cancer came and went through my family so fast, and I think there was something spiritual in that. God had to take someone to save the others, and my mother’s memory gave us all the hope that we needed to get through that time.
Haley: My grandma gives me hope.
My grandma is the only window I have into who made my dad who he is, from his passion for history and Santa Fe Railroad clocks to his appreciation of quality time. I have always valued my relationship with my grandma as a way to learn more about my dad. In this process, I had the honor of getting to know Grandma for who she is, her similar passion for history, her love language of quality time, and one of the few differences between her and my dad…her five-star-quality cooking!
When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was terrified. My dad has always avoided burdening me with his trials, but I could tell he was scared, too. Living hundreds of miles away meant we couldn’t physically be there to alleviate her daily stresses or calm her worried mind. We waited on the other end of the phone for the next update and to give any encouragement we could.
She was strong through the process, clinging to hope, but I knew she was scared, too. After months of waiting, Grandma overcame and has now been in remission for five years. I now have a greater appreciation for her strength and cherish the moments I have to learn more about her. It blesses me to work for a company supporting the salary of a Patient Navigator, someone who will be hand-in-hand to support women like my grandma, giving them the treatment and vision of hope they deserve.
Courtney: My friend, Sophie, gives me hope.
My friend Sophie has an optimism of life you don’t encounter often. Her story gives me hope.
From Sophie: One of my favorite memories of my mom was a family trip in Colorado. We went to a mini-golf course where there was a super slide. She told Sarah and me, “Come on, girls. We’re going to ride that.” We climbed to the top, and all the kids below were like, “Look at Aunt Donna! Aunt Donna’s going to do the super slide!” She was so positive and glowing with beauty. After her diagnosis, this is just one example of how my mom really lived life to the fullest. She never complained or asked “Why me?” She knew her time on earth was going to be cut short, so she made the most of it. She still believed life was good, and that outlook on life rubbed off on everyone around her.
Brantley: My mom gives me hope.
While it may seem like a distant memory now, my mom has been cancer-free for 10 years. In these years of survivor-hood, I’m constantly reminded of how God has truly blessed her and our family with a positive outcome. I continue to admire my mom’s strength through her efforts encouraging anyone else impacted by cancer and their cheerleaders who may be struggling to find the best way to serve them.
Mom attests that when she was sick, her tribe was steadfast when she needed them most. Our family and countless friends prayed for her at all times of the day and even into the night. She describes a family whose unconditional support she’ll never forget, a husband who provided wisdom during the grueling treatment sessions, one friend who took the time to add every single radiation appointment to her own calendar so she could pray for Mom specifically at those times, and even a dear friend who pulled some strings at work to score her a nearby parking spot on treatment days. I truly believe my mom’s faith and her family and friends’ prayers and love sustained her and gave her hope. We are so grateful every day.
Angie: My sister-in-law gives me hope.
My sister-in-law had the BRCA1 genetic mutation. Not all breast cancer is caused by this, but it is estimated that 55-65% of women with this genetic mutation will develop breast cancer before they are 70 years old. She had a double mastectomy and a hysterectomy to prevent herself from getting breast cancer, but there are other ways for cancer to find its way in. It went straight to her pancreas and her liver, and she recently passed away from it.
We knew that the mutation started in my husband’s mother. She died of metastasized breast cancer and lost all but one of her siblings to cancer. So my sister-in-law fought her insurance company to get herself checked for the gene. They didn’t want to cover a test like this because they said it’s a semi-rare gene. For the whole family’s sake, she was very persistent to get tested so that we would all know to take preventative measures.
When the gene was found in her, the cost of the test was automatically covered for our entire family line. We now know who has it and who doesn’t. My husband does have it, so I’ve been afraid for my daughter, Sara, her whole life. When she became old enough—and due to her aunt’s heroic fight—we were able to have her tested. Her test came back negative. I’m so thankful that she’s graduated from college, gotten engaged and will be walking down the aisle in March.
Karla was the strength in our family for a very big reason. She empowered our entire family with knowledge. She had this effect on so many people in her life. The University of North Texas economics department created a scholarship in her honor. She spent decades mentoring and caring for other people and that’s how we’ll remember her.