You would never know that behind my best friend's never ending smile, she is once again in the fight of her life against cancer. Yes, once again, fighting CANCER!
Colleen was diagnosed at the age of 15 with Stage 4B Hodgkin's Lymphoma - cancer of the lymph nodes (also in lung, etc.). After a year of chemotherapy, along with an extremely positive attitude, she beat it! A survivor.
She was just approaching the 30th anniversary of winning that battle - being cancer free - and in August 2014, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. CANCER AGAIN! What appeared initially as a small lump, requiring only a lumpectomy, was determined to actally be an expansive area and resulted in a double mastectomy on October 31.
Since then, she has had an array of complications, ER visits, numerous surgeries and has yet to begin actual cancer treatment as a result of so many challenges.
Colleen, my best friend, is one of the strongest, most courageous and most compassionate people I have ever met in my life. She has been in a caretaker role since she was approximately 11 years old. Recently she lost her Mother and 12 year old best Buddy (boxer dog) and it devastated her.
She finally began to get on her feet and begin to focus on self care, as she has been dealing with devastating grief, and along came the devastating diagnosis of breast cancer,
Colleen is both a ray of sunshine and an inspiration to those she has met going through similar situations. She has been ministering to others along this cancer journey and providing encouragement to others in the battle, despite what seems to be never ending complications of her own. She often can be found sharing her story of tribulations and triumphs battling cancer, praying with others, and offering hugs and support.
She has spent her career in nonprofit helping others in need, as well as volunteering her time and services for as long as I can remember to causes such as HIV/ADIS, those with disabilities, cancer, food pantries, the elderly, the homeless, victims of crime and sexual assault, just to name a few.
Although, she has worked tirelessly throughout her life helping those in need, she is reluctant to ask for help for herself.
This breast cancer diagnosis has not only presented so many medical complications, but has also devastated her financially as she is unable to work and currently has no income.
She has stated that the first cancer diagnosis was different as she only had to fight medically as her parents had the financial responsibility with her childhood diagnosis. This time the medical fight, as well as the financial burden, is on her shoulders. It is her responsibility to pay the mortgage, keep the lights on, etc.
I hope you will join me in supporting Colleen to show that her dedication and commitment to helping others in need has not gone unnoticed, and that WE are here to support her as she NEEDS US now.
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