by Lisa Cadigan
One of the magical things about the internet is the power it gives us to reach out to people with whom our paths may not otherwise cross. My path recently intersected with a young woman named Anna Soubbotina. I have never met Anna in person, but she is a dear friend of my cousin, Jessica. Anna is 25, and was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. There is no good age to be diagnosed with cancer, but I think we can all agree that 25 seems far too young to shoulder such a burden.
Anna’s friends write, “A wig alone can be very expensive, and we think it’s important for her to feel beautiful during this hard time.” They have gathered their own resources and launched a web page to help offset some of the costs that are coming Anna’s way.
I can only speak for myself, and I realize Anna’s experience will be as unique as she is, but as a thyroid cancer patient and afterwards, I tried to remember that my job was to be brave, to have faith that all would be well, to be strong, to rest, to be kind to myself and to heal. I searched for peace in a situation that didn’t make any sense at the time. One of the hardest parts was letting go to let people take care of me. This served two purposes: I needed to be taken care of, and they needed to feel like they were doing something real and helpful.
People took wonderful care of me while I was down and out, and I treasure the memories of all they did. People I knew, and people I didn’t know showed up with hot meals every night after my surgery. They took care of my children. They sent cards and flowers. They taught me that people are basically good, and that even in a difficult situation, one can find beauty and even a little peace.
I am posting this today because I would like to pass that message on to my new friend Anna. I encourage you to join me. Let’s do the important work of making someone feel loved today. Please visit the fundraising page created by Anna’s dear friends, and help this young woman know that there are people out there who want to wish her well. Let’s give her the gift of our presence, so that when she faces the darker, lonelier times ahead, she can cling to the knowledge that she is loved, that we belong to each other, and that together, we can do seemingly impossible things. If you can donate a dollar, do it. No amount is too small. If you can’t spare a dollar, please leave a kind word. The dollars will help pay medical bills, but love and support are priceless.
Anna – we haven’t met, but I am thinking about you and wishing you love, strength and a full recovery. As you face the greatest obstacles of your journey, please know that beauty and wisdom are waiting for you on the other side, and that we are all rooting for you.