For Teachers Write, our Tuesday challenge was to "Thank a Stranger." Here's my letter.
You don't know me, but you have changed my life. You don't know me, but you have inspired me. You don't know me, but you have given me hope. I thank you.
At my first Relay for Life, I had only been a cancer survivor for 6 months. I was only a month out from my last round of chemo. While I was feeling much better, my hair was still missing. A bandanna still adorned my head. I was proud to be standing there, but I was also still a little shy about calling myself a survivor. I was still full of fear.
Then, as survivor after survivor shouted out their years of survivorship, I listened. Near the end, I heard your voice. You proudly shouted out that you were a breast cancer survivor and you had been one for over 45 years! You have no idea what those words did to me. I was instantly filled with hope. Tears came to my eyes. I told my husband that I wanted that to be me one day, giving hope to the "newbies" like me. He replied that it would be me.
I wish I would have caught your name, or gone to speak with you. I wish I could know you now. I wish I could thank you in person. I have thought of you so often over the last year. Any time I feel that familiar pull of fear, I think of you. I know that I CAN and WILL make it through this. I know that I will continue to do the work and fight for the passion that you unknowingly instilled in me. I will fight for hope.
So, thank you. Thank you for being a survivor. Thank you for being a fighter so that you could be a beacon of hope for others. Thank you for lighting the path before you so that others like me would know the way. Thank you for being unafraid to shout to the world what you have been though. Thank you for HOPE!