May 08

A few nights ago, I had the privilege of attending the Susan G. Komen Greater Cincinnati Power of a Promise Award and Recognition event.  It honors local folks who have been impactful in Komen’s mission.

I was honored with the Nancy Lambers Bresser Serenity Award; it a distinction honoring those who have found peace and serenity in the midst of breast cancer.  And yes, I did find peace and serenity in the midst of breast cancer.  I believe God anointed me with that blessing on Day 1.  I also believe that Nancy and I would have been fast friends if the years had aligned differently and allowed us to meet in the Chemo Room.  Diagnosed at 25 and deceased at 29, Nancy embodies the unfairness of breast cancer, but her legacy is one of love.  Her life perspective, which her husband told me is on her gravestone, was “All is well.”  Yes.  We would have been friends, Nancy and I.  I’d like to express a heartfelt thanks to the Lambers and Bresser families, as well as to the amazing folks who nominated me, and to the Komen team.

I cried tears of incredulity as I read the letters of nomination; I matter.  The way I’m doing this cancer thing matters.  I told Nancy’s sister that breast cancer is the best worst thing that’s ever happened to me.  Because of breast cancer, I know how very much I am loved.  Do you know how much you are loved?  Probably not.  But for me, because of breast cancer (and my choice to live it out loud on the Internet), people tell me all the time in different ways that they love me.  It is an amazing gift.  My heart keeps swelling to the point that I think it will burst, and then it grows some more.  I am channeling the Grinch with that imagery: good comes from the most unexpected places.  And, I hope you know, you matter to me.  Do Today Well is because of and for you.

Registration opened for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure this week.  I decided to form a team: Do Today Well.  It would be an honor if any of you would like to join us.  Here is the website: click through to the race, and join a team (Do Today Well is my team’s name).  It’s in Cincinnati on September 14th.

You can probably donate if you want to, but please give to whatever charity moves you.  I’ve never been much for fund-raising; I’m about hope, and this event gives me hope so I’m in.  Hope for a cure for cancer, hope that good and kind people do good and kind things every day, hope that my family will have a memory-making day together, hope.  The “system” forced me to enter a value for my fund-raising goal, and I initially put in $3,200 because I was 32 when I was diagnosed.  Then I decided that I did not want that to forever be the iconic number that defines me.  Instead I went with $8,200.  And that’s because when I was bargaining with God last year, I asked Him for fifty more years.  (This is sort of a joke.  But I would be ecstatic about 50 years post-diagnosis!)  32 + 50 = 82.  I plan to pack as much awesome-ness into those fifty forty-nine years as I can.  This isn’t about money or the fine print; if you need some hope, then this could be a good fit, that’s all.

Last year, I participated in the 2012 Race for the Cure.  Sort of.  My mom, an active chemo patient at the time, and I, just a few weeks post-surgery and a few more weeks post-chemo, sat on the sidelines near the Reds stadium.  A 5k was not recommended by our shared oncologist, Dr. Wonderful.  Thousands, including the many friends and family who showed up to support us, ran/walked by, and it. was. amazing.  I am without words to describe the atmosphere, but let me tell you, it was a really fun day.

This I know for sure: cancer events are not gloomy affairs.  We are a determined people; we thrive on hope.

*I understand Komen is a polarizing organization.  Please refrain from negativity here.


  1. Yesterday I lost my cousin to ovarian cancer. She fought a long and hard but she fought beautifully. No word of complaint. She was upbeat and encouraging even with her final words. Reading the beautiful things people have been writing on her fb page the last days has been incredibly inspiring. She chose to battle privately and only twice in the last 4 years did she even hint at her battle, but the people that know her got the privilege to see her walk it out well. You both inspire me. I want to be more positive and encouraging and live well to honor her memory.

  2. Nikki /

    Pretty sure I need to come to Cincy in September to be on your team. 🙂 I’ll keep you posted… 🙂

  3. LFlood /

    I’m in! : ) Thank you for being an amazing example of how to live peacefully during a storm!

  4. Amazing. Good job, and award for God anointed peace. Seriously? Could it get better!!!??

    I just heard Bo Stern speak at a recent retreat. She wrote a book called “Beautiful Battlefields”. She asked, who do you know that is more beautiful because of their battle? I thought of you. I know I don’t know you, know you, but I see your beauty and all the treasures you find on this battlefield. I HIGHLY recommend Bo’s books. She is a powerful teacher and you will relate to her on many levels.

    Thank you for writing. It’s been a while since I gave you some love outloud, but you have been in my prayers and thoughts. I had skin cancer a year ago. Easy-peasy one surgery and gone skin cancer. I was blown away that I could pinpoint the time that I felt MOST loved. I can relate on such a smaller level. It gave me beauty and freedom.

    Thank you for encouraging us all to do today well, as you do it alongside! Warmest hugs, friend.

  5. Denise O'Mara /

    Sorry that I won’t be with you this September but I continue to send the love and prayers. Love Neecie

  6. Patty /


  7. Congratulations, you certainly deserve this award, you have been a great sorce of positive energy for me to draw from, love ya! Sorry I won’t be in Cinncy in Sept , I’ll think of you from Venice.

  8. Bonnie J /

    Such wonderful news Jen, the Lord’s blessing indeed! It is truly amazing to see what HE does in the circumstances of our lives – we are supremely loved.