Friends, an amazing thing has happened. More lovely people from far away have stepped in to send me love and support. I have been absolutely showered this whole time with encouragement and love and financial support from friends, family and strangers near and far. It really is hard to fully understand the depths of this kindness. Now, the University Of Mary Cross Country Team, led by coaches Mike Thorson and Dennis Newell, are sporting pink Katie Over Cancer shirts as a team fundraiser to help me this season. So what can I say about that?
First, Tom and I are so moved to be considered worthy of such a generous act. We are excited and touched and all the wonderful things that come along with seeing a small sea of pink in your honor. But there is more than that. A feeling that hits me deeper. There is something so reassuring about thinking about those young athletes wearing shirts with my cause on them. It’s a deep sense of solidarity and tangible proof that I am NOT alone.
When I am scared or having a bad day, I can close my eyes and think about the dozens of people wearing pink (or maroon like my high school classmates created!). There is a simple, visible representation of the often hard to grasp reminder that I am not alone here. What’s more is that this is a group of athletes. I love that. These are young people who are working hard to achieve their dreams. Their every day efforts push them to be the best they can be. I find the beauty and excitement of their efforts incredibly comforting. They match my own hopes for my life. I want to be the best I can be. I want to accomplish my dreams. And some days, with cancer, you lose sight of the dreams. They disappear around the next corner of setbacks or suffering.
To be reminded of the gift of hope means so much because it reminds me to keep living and to keep dreaming. That alone goes a long way toward healing.
I owe a huge “thank you” to the team and to the coaches for giving me that hope and inspiration. I feel so blessed to be reminded that I have soldiers all around me on this battlefield, and to be lifted from darkness and doubt when I needed it most. And to all my other friends and family, thank you for being a part of my long-standing army. You guys are the best and have carried me so far. You have eased my burdens and tended to the wounds of my heart. Thank you.
Please, if you see a pink or maroon tee shirt in my honor, give that soldier a high-five for me. I’d love for everyone to know what his/her solidarity means to me. You guys have filled my heart once again and I am off to fight another day!
Give ‘Em Hell