Today is Thanksgiving Day here in Canada. Its often a day when I will reflect on the amazing things that I am actually grateful that Diabetes brought into our lives--most importantly, the wonderful friends and new family it created.
This year is going to be different however. This year, I am not going to talk about diabetes at all. I am going to talk about friends--one particular friend actually. I don't remember when exactly we met. My mother worked for her parents and she was most likely there one day when I stopped in for coffee. I haven't kept in close contact over the years but she remained good friends with my mom and Mom always kept me apprised of what was going on in her life...and what a life it has been!
Cindy has battled cancer for over twenty years, been divorced and lost her oldest daughter in a tragic car accident. She has been happily remarried, adopted lovely young girl with her husband, and won many of her constant battles with cancer. Her determination and her humbleness is inspiring.
My mom called me one day and said "I heard from Cindy today. Its not good. The doctors have washed their hands of her treatment and said they will make her comfortable but there is nothing else they can do." Despite the dire prognosis, Cindy and her husband did not give up. They found Dr. Castillo's stem cell therapy in San Diego and Tijuana and she began this new treatment.
To date, the treatments have been effective in shrinking the cancer in one lung and halting growth in the other. Because of the controversial nature of this radical therapy, Cindy and her family are having to cover all of the costs themselves. Treatments cost over $100,000 and debt in their household is growing at an alarming rate. Cindy's husband is a dentist but with Cindy's poor health and a young daughter to take care of, he is only able to work part-time. Obviously Cindy is no longer to contribute much financially at all.
Their dedication and Cindy's incredible courage has led many of their family and friends to do all that they can to help. Word of Cindy's plight has been featured in Calgary newspapers and on the radio. It has moved complete strangers to fund-raise on her behalf. It has led me to dedicate this Thanksgiving post to her.
Cindy and I have resumed our contact and she recently asked me when I was going to visit her. My eyes teared up and I was glad this question came over a text. I replied that I had been travelling a lot this year but hopefully my trip would come soon. I quietly prayed that she would have many more years in which I really could visit.
In another conversation, we discussed her then upcoming fundraiser and the fact that I would do what little I could to spread the word and hopefully generate more donations for her. She simply replied "Everyone has been so kind." Without a thought I stated the obvious "You deserve it!" There was a pause before she replied, "Thank you for saying that." Again, tears came to my eyes. She has been through so much, given so much to others and yet seemed shocked to see that people were so willing to help her and her family.
This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for all of you and I am grateful that Cindy is here with us. I am grateful that she has this holiday to spend with her family--her mother, siblings, her husband, her son, and her youngest daughter. I am grateful for ability to provide a small donation towards her last attempt to beat cancer--and with the financial resources Cindy is confident that she will do just that! "It is a long battle," she notes "but it will be won."
My wish for this Thanksgiving holiday is that Cindy is able to see this battle won--for her, for her family. Please, if you can, help her to win this battle. In the diabetes community we know that living should not be about money and sadly, once again it is--in the most extreme case. Please consider sending even $5 to help this family. I have over 1000 followers between here, on Face book, and on Twitter. If each person sent Cindy's family $5 that would be $5000 towards her continued treatment. $5000 towards her seeing another Thanksgiving with her family. Please, help me to help her.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
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