Richard Nixon once famously said "the finest steel goes through the hottest fire". And he was right. We are all tested at some point "“ we are thrown into the fire and we must endure the flame. But we don't have to bear our burdens alone. It is in times of trouble that we most need the love and support of our friends and family to help us survive and thrive.
Everyone knows there are no guaranteed cures for breast cancer... but I refuse to let a little detail like that get in the way of my dream that together we can create a miracle "“ we can help Tabatha beat this thing once and for all.
If you are reading this right now, chances are you either know me (Rhondalynn Korolak) or my best friend Tabatha Neigum (nee King). We were born and raised in a Medicine Hat, Alberta and we graduated from Medicine Hat High School in 1985.
Tabatha still lives in Medicine Hat surrounded by her loving family "“ husband (Simon Neigum), daughters (Tatum and Shayla), sister (Christine), mother (Faye) and father (Gordon). She was first diagnosed in November 2007 and she underwent surgery to remove both breasts and chemotherapy. She was in remission for some time, but as is often the case, the breast cancer came back and it has spread to her liver, bone and brain.
Tabatha recently underwent radiation therapy to stop the growth of the brain tumour. This treatment and the other medications (including Round 4 of chemotherapy) is incredibly hard on her. As is typical of Tabatha, she doesn't complain (even though she is in enormous pain) and she does not want to worry anyone. She is by far the most courageous person I have known and it breaks my heart to see her go through this.
The doctors are working very hard to help her fight the cancer and she is very determined to beat it. She must travel to Calgary each week for treatment which is hard on her because she has to be away from her family and she struggles to get out of bed and eat solid food. She also needs naturopathic treatments to help her deal with the pain, fluid retention and other side effects of this aggressive course of treatment. She is unable to get this treatment in Medicine Hat and her family must take turns each week to go up with her.
Now most of you who are reading this already know how special she is. She is by far the kindest and most loving person that I know. She makes time for everyone and she often puts the needs of others before her own. She needs your help right now but unfortunately, she is unable to ask you for it herself.
Most of you won't know this but in many ways I actually owe my life to her. When my mom was murdered in 1992, I pretty much lost the will to live. I stopped eating and I was pretty much living on sleeping pills and Prozac. Tabatha left her home in Peace River (where she was living with Simon at the time) to come down to Calgary and stay with me. She finished her Commerce degree that year at the University of Calgary and she kept a watchful eye on me. When things got crazy and overwhelming, she was there. When I couldn't sleep due to nightmares, she was there. When I was depressed and wanted to end my life to stop the pain, she was there. Bit by bit she nursed me back to health both physically and emotionally. And she did ALL of this during a time that was really tough for her too "“ as her brother had been killed just 1 week after my mom in Medicine Hat.
She is the greatest friend anyone could ask for "“ not only to me but to everyone who is lucky enough to meet her.
I know that there is little we can do influence what the doctors are doing to treat her cancer. What you and I can do is help to ease the burden of the weekly travel and the out-of-pocket expenses for medical and naturopathic treatments she needs to cope with the pain and side effects. We can be there to give her support and to help her body stay strong so that the medicine can work to kill the cancer.
Unfortunately, we are not just dealing with early stage breast cancer anymore. Tabatha is in a fight for her life which is the hottest flame any of us will ever be asked to endure. And she needs your help to keep up this fight.
This world is definitely a better place with her in it.
She makes a difference every day to the lives of her family and friends and she deserves all the support that we can give to her. If you can help us reach our goal by donating and/or forwarding this message to a friend, I will forever be in your debt.
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