Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Most Inspiring 10 Minutes of My Life

It's amazing how some things can happen when you least expect it.

I was in Power Plant this afternoon to buy Avent teats for Sabine. I didn't intend to stay long at all. In fact, I was already on my way back to the car after buying a frapuccino from Starbucks when I saw a photo exhibit along the corridor in front of Hans Brumann.

There were beautiful black and white photos of real people, apparently cancer survivors who all belong to the Carewell Community, a support group for cancer survivors and their families. I was looking at the photos and reading each caption which detailed the story of each of the survivors, when a lady approached me and said hello. We ended up chatting for a bit and I don't know why but normally my reaction would be to find a way to end the conversation without sounding disrespectful but this time I didn't feel the need to. Except for the hair loss, there was absolutely nothing about her that could've told me she had cancer. Her smile was genuine and her voice gentle. I felt naturally endeared to her.

She bravely shared her story with me. Her name is Marissa Nerida. In 2000, she was diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer and was given just one year to live. Obviously, she proved all these doctors wrong. 8 yrs later, she's still very much around. But that's not the interesting part of her story. During the time she was diagnosed, she was doing time at the Correctional Institute for Women. Yes, she was in jail! I also told her that cancer runs on my Mom's side of the family and that's why I read up a lot on it.

To cut the long story short, we swapped cellphone numbers and I promised to be in touch because she said she was hoping to hear from me again after today. I was touched when she said that she could tell I am a really good person, when all I did was give her a few minutes of my time.

I don't have the financial means to regularly donate to the Carewell Community but I'm hoping I can help in some other way, no matter how insignificant it may seem compared to the hundreds of thousands of pesos the group receives from its regular donors.

To Tita Marissa ... your story has inspired me beyond words. I'm convinced that there was something or someone that led me to that photo exhibit today and I'm thankful that I took the time to stop and talk to you. You're an AMAZING woman and I truly admire you for your strength, positivity and unwavering faith. Your husband, children and grandchildren are extremely blessed to have you in their lives. Now I have one more name to add to my list of "people to pray for". May God continue to bless you in the mysterious ways in which He has already done so these past 8 years!

See you soon!

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