You may have heard me say that hope is an act of defiance. You may have heard me mention a conspiracy of hope… I’m happy to report a growing crowd of co-conspirators!
It’s taken me a while to tell this story. That’s because I can’t figure out how to tell it. I can’t do it justice, can’t even come close.
August 1st 2018 was unlike any other August 1st I can remember. It started small and kept on growing.
I spent weeks getting ready for it! I painted “Hope” rocks,
and more hope rocks,
and more hope rocks …
I bought chocolates, ordered supplies, connected with a variety of folks, including key people at the Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre and Lung Cancer Canada …
I organized a lung cancer awareness table staffed by lung cancer patients at the Cancer Centre. It really wasn’t that big a deal! But it was, after all, WORLD Lung Cancer Day!
And it was, to my knowledge, the first time such a thing had ever been done!
I wanted to make a difference, brighten people’s day at the Cancer Centre, inject a little hope, raise some awareness about lung cancer … hence the hope rocks and chocolates and information. But what ended up happening was so much more!
We enjoyed a beautiful collaboration among a number of different groups and individuals who all want the same thing: to help and support lung cancer patients.
We didn’t count the number of people we had conversations with, but there were many! There were always at least two of us staffing the table, usually three and sometimes more! It seemed there was a constant flow of people who stopped by wanting to talk. I couldn’t estimate the number!
Here’s the thing: I was blown away by the difference we made! I can’t find words to describe the impact that we seemed to have on people. You could see shock and bewilderment on the faces of people when they first stopped by the table … especially when they found out we were there because of lung cancer. Many could not grasp that most of us were actual lung cancer patients / survivors. We looked so healthy …
Lung Cancer is the deadliest of all the cancers. We know that far too well. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy each other’s company! 🙂 We cry together and we laugh together, and on August 1 it was a tremendous privilege to gather with some of my lung cancer sister-friends and bring joy and hope to the cancer centre! I don’t have words to describe how much it meant to me to be bringing hope to the cancer centre together!
A conspiracy of hope! (In a place that can be so difficult to walk into.)
Here’s an excerpt of a letter I wrote to thank the team:
Thank you so much for your support yesterday! It was such a gift for us to be able to connect with lung cancer patients, other cancer patients, caregivers, staff, volunteers and friends! I loved the looks on faces when they learned we are LC patients/survivors! I’m confident we made a significant difference for many people yesterday.
It was significant for me too! Last year I painted hope rocks and brought them to the cancer centre all by myself. While I am glad I did that, and think it was a good thing to do, this year was so much better because I was doing it with you! Better because it made a bigger impact, and better because I got to do it with you!
I’m honoured to have served the Cancer Centre with you in celebration of World Lung Cancer Day 2018.
With love and appreciation –
But there’s even more!
Two of my dear (non-lung cancer) friends came and surprised me! They made and brought a huge, lungs-shaped cake to the Cancer Centre for us to share. What unexpected joy! They blessed us so we could in turn bless others even more! No words for how much this means to me! 🙂
A conspiracy of hope surprise party?
Here’s the best part, the icing on the cake: because we’ve got strong co-conspirators and teamwork, we’re going to keep these events going, raising hope and awareness about lung cancer. Monthly awareness tables, in ongoing partnership with Lung Cancer Canada and the Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre, organized by my dear friend and co-conspirator, who is alive and making a difference thanks (in part) to excellent medical care and lung cancer research!
Hope could benefit from a whole lot more co-conspirators!
(Apologies: I don’t know who to credit for all of the photos. Most of them are from Mieke. Thanks again Mieke!)