Guest Blogger: Julia McGrath, Leiomyosarcoma Warrior!
(Pictured left to right: Amy Virkler, Sue Udelson, and Julia McGrath)
Finding joy in a cancer diagnosis is like finding the “blessing of a skinned knee”, which is also the title of a wonderful parenting book by Wendy Mogel. How could a parent believe that a child’s skinned knee is a gift? A blessing? How could cancer ever be a gift? In the book, Mogel explains that these sorts of painful occurrences give opportunities for tenacity, flexibility, optimism, and compassion. And so it is with cancer – and I know all too well as a sarcoma survivor.
On Saturday, September 10, Carolinas Healthcare System’s Levine Cancer Institute hosted its annual Cancer Survivors Day. There were many “skinned knees” in attendance, but there was a sense of positivity nonetheless, and the Paula Takacs Foundation (PTF) was a proud exhibitor at this special event.
The PTF showed tenacity in the sweltering heat with a disco-themed booth, polyester and all. Visitors posed for photos with disco props and folks of all ages made their very own pet rocks to take home. There was a pervasive attitude of compassion and optimism. Survivors participated in lots of activities — designed to give love and hope to those who have struggled as well as those who are currently fighting. All you have to do is look at the photographs to see there were blessings to be found. As a survivor with my own “skinned knee”, I was proud and grateful to be there.