As we at LIVESTRONG give thanks this season, we?ve asked some of our clients and supporters to share who and what they?re thankful for. Below is testicular cancer survivor Eric Stout?s perspective on the importance of family during his cancer journey.
From now through Thanksgiving Day, our partners at FTD are offering LIVESTRONG supporters 15% off flowers and gifts, with 15% of your purchase coming back to the Foundation in support of the very services that Eric received.
Please visit www.ftd.com/livestrong15 to order *
When you hear the words ?you have cancer,? it can tear your family apart. It will challenge the fabric of who you are as a person and the strength of the bonds within a family. My journey with cancer proved only to strengthen the relationships in my life, and I am grateful for that every day.
A major source of inspiration and strength for my family has been the LIVESTRONG Foundation and their core values.
?Unity is strength. Knowledge is power. Attitude is everything.?
These words defined how we attacked my cancer diagnosis and helped us to win. It became something to rally around. LIVESTRONG meant power and choice. This was not a democracy; it was a dictatorship, and I was calling the shots.
LIVESTRONG also provided tools to help me and my family navigate our cancer journey. It started with a Guidebook offering words of encouragement, advice and questions to ask my oncology team. How should I tell my friends? Should I tell them? They also provided great insight as to how a family can help as caregivers.
I was so blessed to have the tremendous support of my family and friends. My father and stepmother were rocks. No one was stronger for me than my dad. I?d never seen him more selfless. He educated himself on my treatments and asked the tough questions of my doctors. He learned about the medications I needed to take, and he made sure I had enough to eat and enough rest. We?d always been close, but we became best friends during this.
LIVESTRONG also helped me preserve my fertility. They helped me find a facility in my town and helped me manage costs. I was 28 when I was diagnosed; my world was spinning. The furthest thing from my mind was having a family. I was focused on the present; the Foundation was thinking of my future.
I?m now 32 and the idea that I?ll have a family one day is far more important to me than it was four years ago. I know how important it is to my mother too. We are very close and have had some great conversations about my future and how she?d love to become a grandmother. She believes I?ll have a daughter, and I?d love to give her that gift. With LIVESTRONG?s help, I believe that one day I will.
I continue to fight with and for the Foundation. How could I not after all they?ve done for me? I champion their cause throughout my community and engage and speak with people every opportunity I get to provide clarity about the Foundation?s mission. I participate in events and raise funds because I know how important grassroots efforts are; they allow the Foundation to continue providing FREE services and programs to cancer survivors.
Times were tough, to be sure. But families are tougher. We took this fight personally and while the hard days were some of the hardest we had ever known, the victories and triumphs were by far the greatest. With the holidays here once again, we have the pleasure of looking around our family?s table and raising a glass to one another knowing how much we?ve achieved together. For that I am forever thankful.
*Some exceptions apply. See site for details.