I am so sick of cancer. I am sure for many of you, that is the understatement of the century, but it pretty well describes how I’m feeling right now.
I just found out that cancer is messing with yet another one of God’s beautiful creations. This time, it’s my friend’s mom. She had a double mastectomy last week and is preparing for the chemo journey ahead of her. My friend has been holding her mother’s hand throughout the whole scary process: the biopsies, the diagnosis and the surgery. She will continue to hold her mother’s hand as long as she needs to. I just wish she didn’t need to.
Dale Thornton, from Moorhead, is dealing with his own journey, but as you’ll see from his letter, he’s not letting cancer stop him from encouraging the people around him.
“A number of years ago when I was working with Native students at the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School in northern Minnesota, I devised a pin to encourage the students to stay in school. The pin had a red line drawn through the words ‘give-up-ed-ness’ indicating that regardless of what happens, they should keep trying. Also, at the bottom of the pin were the words ‘Don’t Give Up’.
Fast-forward to my cancer diagnosis. I decided to take my own advice and wear the pin when being treated at the Roger Maris Cancer Center. When asked about the pin, I gave away as many as my allowance permitted.
A few months ago, my wife and I were talking to friends who were also dealing with cancer, and the topic of the pin came up. After discussion, the husband reached into his wallet and handed me a hundred-dollar bill and instructed me to buy more pins.
A few weeks later, I decided to post a photo of the pin on Facebook with an encouraging word. A friend of mine asked if I accepted donations, and I responded certainly. To date, I have received $500 to make pins available to many more cancer patients.
Should I ever have doubts about the kindness of people, all I need to do is remember this series of events.”
It is so hard to know how to support someone going through the war against cancer. What we really want to do is make it all stop. Make the cancer go away. Provide total healing. When we can’t do that, we feel helpless and oftentimes end up in a state of paralysis, doing nothing.
Dale captured the essence of kindness in those pins. By giving them away, one by one, he was able to brighten someone else’s day, and by accepting those donations, he was allowing others the opportunity to support him.
Dale says he has given away more than 1,000 pins. That’s a lot of pins, translating into a lot of encouragement. Amazing things happen when we lead with kindness and Don’t Give Up.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.
Nicole J. Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is a writer, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Ohio University’s Men’s Head Basketball Coach Saul Phillips. Her columns run every Saturday.