Workout to Conquer Cancer.

There’s a person who entered my life years ago.
She became my best friend.
We spent days together.
Hours together.
Talking about life, boys and all things typical to the age of 16.
We went to high school dances.
We had sleepovers.
We went shopping together.
We formed an unbreakable bond.

But what I didn’t know at the time was that this person. This girl. This remarkable woman, was about to change the course of my life. I didn’t know the lessons she had to teach me. I didn’t know the effect her soul would have on mine.

Writing this… is an emotional moment filled with memories floating through my head and feelings of gratitude and unconditional love dancing in my heart.

This is the story about why I chose to participate in Workout to Conquer Cancer.

High schoolers.
Running around the hallways causing complete ruckus, enjoying the drama of what this age is all about.
This was when my friend Stacey found out her life would never be the same. Where she found herself hearing news she never thought she’d hear.

At the age of 15 Stacey was diagnosed with Non- Hodgkins Lymphoma. At the age of 16 she was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. At the age of 19 she was diagnosed with Non- Hodgkin’s Lymphoma again. Making that a total of three times.
I know- she’s hands down amazing.

Stacey and I became closer throughout the course of her journey, more so through her second time around.

At this point we were mostly classmates. We weren’t as close as we were about to become. I had no idea this would bring us closer together.

I remember talking to her in the hallway one day and she told me she wouldn’t be in class much the next while because she would be going through treatments again soon. This was grade 10. I just remember thinking – wow she sounds so positive. How?

Stacey climbed some of the biggest mountains that life could have given her. That life could give anyone.

I remember seeing Stacey in the cafeteria crying at one of the tables. That time it was happy tears as she hugged everyone around her. She made sure to say “these are happy tears.” The cancer was gone. I remember that day like it was yesterday.

Or the moments of just straight up being teenagers.

Like going to school dances together and Stacey being so full of life. She appeared just like the rest of us. She just wanted to have fun and be Stacey.

And the best NYE ever.
I stayed in with Stacey and we watched ‘One Tree Hill’. And just before midnight we went for a drive, we jumped out at 12:00 and ran around the car. A moment I’ll never forget.

Stacey’s roller coaster continued.

I remember getting a call during my second year of college.
First semester. It was Stacey.

She told me that the Cancer had come back. We talked for a long time. She told me what the plan was next. I listened. Inside I felt devastated.

I hung up and immediately cried. I didn’t understand how or why this could happen to her again. Why? How was this fair to her?

This is where my love and connection for Stacey grew and grew.
I was old enough to understand a little more.

During my second year of college I moved home to work the second semester. Fortunately I got to be close to Stace while she went through this treatment again.

I’ll never forget the time she asked me to bring her chocolate covered strawberries to the hospital and she ate them pretty quickly…. ohhhh cancer meds.

Watching Stacey literally fight for her life, impacted my life enormously.
It impacted all of us.

Stacey is the reason why I do a lot of the things I do to this day. Every time I think something hard or I feel like I can’t do something- I often get a mental image of her face pop up in my mind. I remember her resilience and strength. Stacey was/ is a fighter. She taught all of us how to keep going and how to push through the darkest days. She taught us how to laugh when things are bad. She taught us how to find the moments in life that we often take for granted and run with them. She taught us how to have fun. She taught us that you can jump any hurtle no matter how hard or how tall. She taught us bravery and courage. She taught us vulnerability. She taught us empathy. She taught us that Beautiful Girls can do hard things and how important it is to be a supportive friend.

Stacey is one in a million.
She’s got a personality of a firecracker.
She’s got a mind filled with intelligence.
She’s got a soul filled with inspiration.
She’s got a spirit filled with Beauty.
She’s the definition of living a Bravely Beautiful Life.

Stacey is 8 years Cancer free!!
The day that Workout to Conquer Cancer started … coincidence- I think not 😉

Stacey was and always will be my childhood hero. She is the reason that I know what Cancer is. She is the reason that I believe in giving to this cause. She is the reason I will work my butt off every single day during this month of May.

Cancer is a word that no one wants to hear. Yet we have to. We hear more and more humans around the world being effected by it. If we can come together as a society and in unity, I believe we can do our part in lowering the statistics.

Life is a beautiful gift.
And time is precious.
Stacey taught me that.

Let’s move, shake, grove, do whatever it takes to keep life as beautiful as it’s meant to be. Let’s do our part to get closer to ending Cancer once and for all.

Together we can do this.