Friday, October 18, 2013

Spirit of Survivorship: NC Komen Pinkfest 2013

Receiving the 2013 Maureen Thomas Jordan Spirit of Survivorship Award.

On Sunday October 6, 2013 it was my pleasure to attend the Susan G. Komen Triangle to the Coast Annual Pinkfest Event. This year Pinkfest was held at the Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel where survivors and our friends and family were invited to enjoy an afternoon of spa and beauty treatments along with drinks, door prizes and of course amazing sweets.

Tabitha and I grabbed our share of desserts, claimed our table and made a bee line to sign ourselves up for the spa treatments.  Then we set down to listen to the ceremonial portion of Pinkfest where the high light of the event was the introduction of sisters Diane Burnette, and Kathleen Thomas who in conjunction with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure NC Triangle to the Coast affiliate presented the Maureen Thomas Jordan Spirit of Survivorship Award.

This award is given in memory of their beloved sister Maureen Thomas Jordan.  Throughout her 9½ year battle with breast cancer, Maureen never lost her hope, courage, strength or faith. She was an inspiration to all who knew her.  The award is given to a breast cancer survivor who like Maureen represents the spirit of true survivorship: someone who faces this disease with grace and courage, who provides service to breast cancer survivors and is an inspiration to others.

The sisters began their presentation with a quote from this year’s recipient.  One I recognized because it has been on Nutcracker Publishing Company's website since the publication of Tickles Tabitha's Cancer-tankerous Mommy led to my first public speaking event in 2001.   “A victim fears tomorrow, a survivor lives life as if there is no tomorrow- despite her fears.” - Amelia Frahm

As soon as I heard it I realized I was going to be the 2013 recipient of the Maureen Thomas Jordan Spirit of Survivorship Award.  I cannot adequately put into words the range of emotions I felt at that moment.

I nudged Tabitha and asked her if she had known about this.  To which she replied, if she had known she would have insisted I wear the pink dress I had debated on instead of the jeans I was wearing. 

If I had known I would have been recording the entire ceremony so I could replay it anytime I am having a bad day or feeling rejected.  Yep, it would get a lot of play.  My take on life is you don’t accomplish anything worthy of an award without first experiencing humiliation and rejection.

To experience the opposite was humbling. I sit there trying to think of what I should say when I accepted the award and telling myself over and over- do not cry- do not cry.

Receiving the Maureen Thomas Jordan Spirit of Survivorship Award is a memory I will cherish the rest of my life.  It served as a poignant reminder of how blessed I have been and validation that something I have done has indeed mattered.  

I am indebted to Christine Andrade, Corporate Sponsorship Manager at the NC Komen Affiliate who nominated me and am so grateful that my daughter, Tabitha was there to share this moment with me.  

Receiving the  2013 Maureen Thomas Jordan Spirit of Survivorship Award was an incredible honor. Although I received the award, much of the credit for it goes to my family, friends and even complete strangers.

As any survivor who has thrived will understand, my cancer diagnosis did not just affect me, but everyone who loved me and some who did not. I am grateful to all of you.

Happy Pink Pumpkin Month!