When I first started going
to my chemotherapy sessions on Monday morning, it was almost fun.
I would roller blade to the hospital, roll right into the lobby
and tell them, "I'm here," with a huge grin.
"Now, stick me with your needles!"
think it was my second or third treatment when I met her.
We were sitting next to each other in the lobby and just started
talking. I remember hearing
her beautiful French-Canadian accent for the first time and thinking how
fragile and sweet she was. We
became immediate friends.
week we would sit together and exchange our feelings about the week
prior. She always kept
notes on what days she did and didn't feel well, and gave me some
pointers on things that might make me feel better (including indulging
in some scratch-off lottery tickets).
my first break from chemotherapy, I visited my brother in Daytona Beach
for a week and brought her back a shell.
I can't remember exactly what I wrote on it, but I wanted her
to know how much she meant to me. That
same week, she had gotten me a beautiful bird…a brooch she'd picked
up from a craft shop that past weekend.
few weeks ago, I went in for a treatment and found her sitting alone in
a room. It worried me to
find her looking so sad and tired, so I joined her and tried to make a
few jokes. We laughed together for a few moments, but her laughter
quickly turned to tears. I'd
never seen her cry before. This
was Marie, the adorable woman who always had a smile on her face and
would never give up. I put
my arm around her and she told me that she'd been in for some tests
earlier in the week and was there to get the results.
I gave her a kiss when her doctor walked into the room, and
returned to the lobby to get my own treatment.
woke to a soft tapping on my left shoulder.
Shaking off the sleep, I realized I'd dosed off in my chair
during my treatment. I slowly turned to see Marie with tears streaming
down her soft cheeks. "I'm terminal," she choked.
"He has given me three months."
Her husband held her and they walked away.
That was all. I was
devastated. I couldn't speak. This
couldn't be happening to Marie. She
was so strong-such a fighter. How
could it be? I immediately
knew that I wanted to dedicate Rolling to Recovery to her.
My mother and I cried
throughout the rest of my treatment.
I went home and cried for the rest of the day.
I just couldn't understand.
This was Marie. She'd
been my shining hope throughout the scariest time of my life.
I sat down and began to write.
I told her she was amazing and my inspiration.
She'd given me the courage to fight my own cancer, and I
couldn't believe that something so awful could happen to such a
beautiful person. I asked
for her permission to dedicate Rolling to Recovery to her, then told her
I loved her…then mailed it.
had another treatment that following Monday morning, and wouldn't you
know it, there she was, looking as beautiful as ever, and grinning like
she'd just won the jackpot at Vegas.
I gave her a hug and she told me she was getting her treatment
and had decided to fight. That's
am dedicating Rolling to Recovery, as well as The Sunflower Fund, to my
friend, Marie, who is my inspiration.
I'll be wearing the pin every day of my skate next summer.
You will always be with me.
I love you.