Friends Across the Sea

Cancer survivors often turn to the internet for community and support when they are diagnosed with cancer. No matter how much of a support system one has, there is absolutely nothing in the world like connecting with someone who truly understands and has been there. At Cervivor, our online community is a huge part of our movement, both in advocacy and support. It was no surprise to us when we found out that two cervivors who had connected online during treatment were going to be meeting one another for the first time at our Cervivor School in Cape Cod, this past fall. However, with Laura being based out of Ireland and Lucy located in Missouri, it felt bigger than usual. These two besties were about to meet for the first time and we had front row seats!

Later we had an opportunity to meet with Lucy and ask her some questions about her friendship with Laura and what it was like to finally meet her:

How did you and Laura meet?

Laura and I first met through an online forum for Cervical Cancer (Jo’s Trust). She reached out to me after reading one of my posts.

What made you continue connecting online?

We were nearly the same age which seemed rare considering cervical cancer isn’t thought to happen in young women in their 20’s. That was an instant connection and feeling like I wasn’t alone in my battle. Laura could tell that I was having a hard time with my diagnosis and that I was feeling down. She sent me a friend request on Facebook and we stayed connected that way.

What support and/or inspiration have you received through the connection?

Laura was a great deal of support for me. She was about a month ahead of me in treatment, so anytime I had questions regarding my treatment plan, I knew she could answer because she had just gone through it.

Is it weird to have such a bond and share personal info with someone you have never (and may never) meet?

Not weird at all. It was so comforting knowing that I had Laura to talk to, even if she was in another country. It’s amazing how much you’re willing to share with someone you feel connected to. I have probably shared more stuff with Laura than my own husband!

What was it like to finally meet each other?

Oh gosh I cried! Laura and I had been talking for a year and a half before we finally met. In the beginning, we always said that someday we would meet. Life gets busy and deep down I was afraid I would never get to meet her in person. I am so thankful for Cervivor for allowing us the opportunity to meet!

Has it changed the relationship (good or bad)?

I truly believe Laura and I have the same soul. She is everything I could have ever imagined and so much more. I am blessed to have met her and to have a friend in her. We still talk all the time and encourage each other through our advocacy for cervical cancer.

What’s next?

I’m positive I will see Laura again. A friendship like this doesn’t just go away or move on. Maybe next time will be in Ireland, we’ll see!

Team Cervivor was delighted to play a part in bringing these two advocates together for the first time. We are sending them both lots of Cervivor love across the miles.

-Team Cervivor

Remembering Christine

I met Christine attending my second Cervivor School in Iowa 2016. The moment we met, I knew she was supposed to be in my life. I felt an instant connection with her. Christine was facing another round of treatment and she was scared about this one. She shared with me her thoughts about going through it again and how her faith, family and friends were going to get her through it. She and I shared a lot that weekend in Iowa and remained in contact after the school. Christine didn’t know it at the time but, she had a profound impact on me and my advocacy going forward.

At Cervivor School we covered a wide range of topics and we were discussing what one person can do to start to make a change. We were talking about breast cancer awareness and how that movement all started. There was some frustration in the room as some ladies were talking about all the awareness that is brought on by the pink campaign. I happened to glance over at Christine and saw her visibly upset. What she said next changed my perspective about breast cancer awareness in general.  She showed the group photos of her coworkers supporting her. They were all dressed in pink shirts with a teal ribbon on them. She told us pink was her favorite color and she didn’t see anything but support and love from this group of who had made the shirts in her honor. She saw the ribbon, not the color of the shirt. It was in this moment, I realized how silly I had been over the pink ribbon. After all, it’s just a color that has long been associated with women. She and I talked about this particular moment and how that frustration was often misdirected. I promised her I would do what I could to change the narrative and I have tried very hard to keep my promise to her. One way was to write The Fight For Teal and White blog entry.

Christine didn’t feel the most comfortable advocating to the level some of our Cervivor school graduates do, but she did do it in her own way with her family, friends, and coworkers. She was truly a special lady who was taken from us far too soon.

Christine, my promise to you remains . . .

 

Paulette Apostolou resides in Illinois with her loving husband and two rescue Miniature Pinschers. She is the owner/designer of ThePartyDeeva.com and founder of Operation Teal; an awareness ribbon campaign she founded in 2016 after attending Cervivor School Louisville. She is the 2017 Cervivor Champion Award recipient Contact Paulette@Cervivor.org She is available for speaking/advocacy events. Read Paulette’s story here.