With You, We Stand: August 8, 2011
Posted on August 3, 2011, 3:21 PM
and by the end of the year he was a very productive football player,” said Spaziani. “He was by no means where he wanted to be or where he was (before cancer). But he kept improving. He’s extremely smart and extremely driven, and put on top of that he’s a football player.”
During her three decades running the Boston Marathon, Sandy Xenos of Hopkinton placed some of her finisher medals in her father’s coffin and gave others to friends struggling with illness or grief. But last week marked the first time one of the keepsakes went to people who helped save the Bellingham teacher’s life. Months before, the doctors had been caught a little off-guard when Xenos announced her plans to still run the Boston Marathon, despite a scheduled full hysterectomy for her uterine cancer. But she stuck with her plans, even upon finding out she needed chemotherapy, a regimen that meant the race would fall between the fifth and sixth sessions. “Your professionalism and kindness will never be forgotten,” she said, reading a prepared salute at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute before tearing up and going off-script. “You’ve changed my life.” At Xenos’s behest, a jeweler had inscribed the medal with her initials, the initials of Drs. Michael Muto and Ursula Matulonis, and “Yawkey 10” - the tenth floor of the hospital’s Yawkey Center, where she received chemotherapy. The doctors plan to frame and display the blue-and-gold memento. “There will be no better place for my medal,” she said of the medal’s new home at Dana-Farber.
For the first time in nearly a decade, Jan Taylor feels like herself. Nine years after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, reconstructive surgery has given the New Zealand woman the confidence to get back in the pool for the first time since her mastectomy. Taylor was only 45 when she found a lump near her armpit one day in 2002. She was urgently referred to a specialist, had surgery just four days later and woke up with the lump - and most of her left breast - gone. “Suddenly I just felt like I was old,” she said. In between rounds of radiation therapy and chemotherapy, she struggled to get used to her new body, avoiding mirrors and sticking to a wardrobe of high-necked clothing. She also had bad scarring that was visible when she wore a swimsuit, so she pushed her love of swimming to one side. “I went down to the pool a couple of times and thought, ‘I can’t do this.”’ For a long time Taylor had been doubtful about having a reconstruction because of her age, but was convinced by family and friends and went back into surgery in April. “It was amazing - I don’t regret it for a minute. I’m still 55 but I feel much better about myself.” Getting back into the pool for the first time was an “awesome” moment.
SU2C is inspired by stories like these and millions of others. Cancer takes one person every minute and to wait for someone else to save our lives and the lives of those we love is no longer an option. At SU2C, we believe that together, we can end this disease by becoming one unstoppable movement. The end of cancer begins with you.
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