There’s no more stark realization than hearing cancer has attacked your body and you must defeat it to live. That happened to me four years and five months ago. So it’s a very moving experience every year when I attend the Relay for Life, celebrating that I’m a survivor/thriver, and joining hundreds of people from nearby communities who are cancer warriors or survivors, those who support them, and those involved in research for a cure.
People fighting cancer come in all ages. In Auburn, California this week, some have defeated it for forty years or more – but others were barely in their teens. Preteen Shayna is a warrior who is part of the beauty pageant team called Queens for a Cure. They are children through teenagers, all dedicated to wiping out cancer once and for all. A group called Angsty Teens for a Cure danced in support of all who fight the disease. But the most motivating speaker for me was young Tegan Hayward.
A year-and-a-half ago, as an eleven-year-old boy, Tegan learned he’d been attacked by a very rare and very aggressive form of bone cancer. He and his doctors were equally aggressive. His protocol included five months of back-to-back chemotherapy (with no rest in between!); three surgeries; radiation; and hundreds of powerful, very dangerous medications. He is now five months in remission and sports a titanium femur inside one leg. But most of all, he has a persistent, positive attitude! He created mantras to keep telling himself day and night:
Have faith! – Let’s kick this! – Have prayer! – I’ve got this! And now: Let’s cure this!
Attitude is everything, backed up by prayer. From the beginning, Tegan claimed his victory over death, and he continues to claim that victory every day of his life. Whatever our age, as Christians, do we claim our victory over death, every day of our lives, as well?