Well, there has been a lot of seriousness on the blog lately! Cancer, grief, mourning- can't get more serious than that, so I guess it goes with the territory. Some people may wonder why I'd want to be involved in the cancer movement at this point in life. Well, it's pretty simple. I need to know that people not only survive, but also live full and long lives after cancer enters their life. Dan firmly believed you could, but it's been hard to remember at points over the past few months.
So on this beautiful, fantastic weekend here on the East Coast, it's the perfect time to put the doom and gloom aside for a bit. A weekend of football, biking & bbqs awaits. Plus, it's the perfect weekend to put the windows down and the music up and sing along. Get out there and feel a little sunshine and shake a little of the grief off. A time to celebrate just being here, making it through this time!!!
I am going to borrow the rest of the blog with a recent email from Andre, one of the scholarship winners from NCCF. We became pretty friendly with him over the past 2 years, and he went through some tough times & dark days post-cancer. Well, I was happy to learn that Andre just celebrated his 4th anniversay of being declared cancer free from stage IV lymphoma. Yes! People are surviving! Living!!!! Here is the email I received from Andre after he'd learned of Dan's passing.
When I heard about Dan I really didn't know where to start. In fact, I started crying. Why? Well, to be honest, if it wasn't for Dan and the NCCF I would not have been able to study abroad and see the world in Spring of 2008. However, just sharing this, I feel, isn't enough. I am desperately searching for words to truly articulate this being whom I never actually met. But has had such an impact on and in my life.
My journey for my education has been a long and tumultuous one. Supporting myself financially, emotionally, spiritually, and all the other "lly's" that I can think of as a cancer patient was painful prior to discovering NCCF. I was hellbent on studying abroad as a part of the Semester at Sea Spring 2008 voyage. I was searching online for scholarships directed specifically for students that confront and/or have confronted cancer. Lo and behold I stumble upon NCCF and I apply. Little did I realize the friendship that would blossom from this application. I submitted all documents and to my surprise a few months later - right on time before my deposit was needed I found out that I was a recipient of the scholarship. When I recieved the check for my program it read "André, you're an inspiration. Stay in touch." And I did exactly that. I emailed Dan while abroad and even sent a postcard from one of the countries - can't remember which one exactly. There wasn't a day I didn't think about Dan. Why? I didn't only think about how the scholarship benefited me, but I thought about, and still think about, how selfless Dan was to start this organization to help individuals like myself.
Upon my return from studying abroad I was ssssooo depressed. Anyone who has studied abroad may be familiar with the "reverse culture shock." Well, I had a serious case of it. I called Dan in tears approximately 3.5 weeks later. I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, literally. And instinctively, I called Dan who helped me gain my composure - folks, I was going through it. Dan and Meg emailed me and called to make sure I was okay. As I slowly but surely came out of my slump I was able to talk to Dan on the phone about Semester at Sea, and not just the Post-Traumatic experiences of seeing 13 countries, seeing the beautiful complexities of world, and eating SO much food! I had a chance to apply for this years scholarship which I was awarded and encouraged to keep up the good work as I spoke to Meg and Dan on the phone. Thus, now having the honor of being a two time recipient of the NCCF Scholarship. Moreover, I told them of my interest and exploration of the dance program at my university. Dan said that it'd be nice to come to NYC and watch me dance. So maybe that's why it's quite challenging to fathom the reality of his transitioning.
However, even as I write this I think about the fact that he will in fact watch me dance, because as my grandmother told me, "You never know when you are entertaining angel." However, I beg to differ. This angel I am aware of.
Thank you Dan for being a light in my life and I promise to continue to keep your legacy and light lit.
Live, Love, and Laugh.
A Survivor Story: Lara Maldonado
2 days ago