Cancer Champion. I first heard this expression at a fundraising breakfast and it really resonated with me. I have never been comfortable with the word “survivor”. It feels like an exclusive club where those less fortunate will never be invited to join. Champion feels more inclusive, more uplifting. And despite the fact that I am not fond of phrases like, “battling cancer”, which imply winning or losing, I do like “champion” because I see a champion as someone living with intention and doing the best they can under extraordinary circumstances.
So here are my top 5 reasons why you are a cancer champion:
- You find yourself in a situation you did not ask for, no matter what you did or did not do previously in your life.
- You use all your strength, courage, and determination to carry on one step at a time.
- You navigate your way through the healthcare system, sometimes feeling lost and overwhelmed, or taking a wrong turn and needing help from others to find your way, or forging a new path that feels right for you.
- You deal with the challenges of treatment, one side effect at a time, or all of them at a time.
- You change on the inside and out but you don’t let cancer define you.
As Debra Jarvis says in her TED talk. “Claim your experience, don’t let it claim you.”
And we all know someone who has not survived but lives on as a champion in our hearts. Here’s to the champion in all of us!
Please tell us why you are a cancer champion. We’ll add your reason to the list. Or if you know someone who is a champion, let us know why.
Colleen Kanna is a breast cancer champion and creator of coKANna designs, a line of bamboo knit, Canadian-made adaptive clothing for women touched by breast cancer.