Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"We're Coming After You, Melanoma" Starring The Human Spirit

I've been processing what I brought away from this past weekend's Aim At Melanoma Walk in Charlotte, NC. I know it impacted and changed my life in ways I may never fully comprehend. But I can't seem to stop smiling and I'm still uplifted by the experience...an experience I highly encourage everyone to have.

What I walk away with that weighs heavily on me...and it's a GREAT, FABULOUS weight...like a ton of coffee ice cream great...is two things combined. One: the total domination of the human spirit in the face of great odds (which, of course, is empowered by God's Holy Spirit), and, two: that human spirit when it strengthens itself with other determined human spirits and they unite to go after a common goal, which in this case is the total demise...the obliteration...of melanoma, is a force to be reckoned with.

(Sorry for the long sentence, but I have my Pauline moments).

Melanoma, your Day of Reckoning is fast approaching.

It began with the people who came. I can't tell about the power of the weekend without telling about Donna and her Jim. When Donna booked her flight she was blissfully stage 3. Melanoma spread though before she came to Charlotte and just two weeks ago, she had her gall bladder removed and her liver resected. Donna was THERE! She looked great, too, let me tell ya! Oh, yeah, she was there from ILLINOIS!!!! Two weeks after major surgery.

Melanoma, Donna and Jim are coming after you!

Then there's Rich. Stage 3c and NED nine years now. He flew in from COLORADO! There's Mark. Stage 4 and a believin' miracle, NED four years going on five now. He flew in from OREGON! There's Debbie, stage 4 and a bona fide, it's in a book miracle, NED four years now. She drove down from VIRGINIA! There's Allyson and her Spencer. Allyson's in the stage 3 range and NED a while also and looking great! They drove in from TENNESSEE! Alicia, her husband Aaron, and their two babies drove in from KENTUCKY! Alicia's also in the stage 3 range and doing beautifully NED. Chelsea and her family drove in from VIRGINIA! Chelsea's stage 3, doing a trial and beautifully NED. Pam and her team, drove up from FLORIDA to honor her Joe who died, too young, earlier this year. Micki and her daughters drove up from SOUTH CAROLINA to honor her Bob who died, too young, not long ago. Sue and her team drove from ARKANSAS to honor her Bobbi who died, too young, earlier this year. Jean, founder of Aim, came from TEXAS to be with us. She founded Aim after her husband died, too young, from melanoma. Linda came from OHIO to honor her daughter, Katy, who died too young from melanoma. I didn't catch what state Jess and her team came from, but they came from out-of-state to honor Jess' sister, Melissa who, also, died too young from melanoma. And there were others.

Melanoma, take note. ALL of these people are coming after you!

We came from everywhere. Survivors and people who love us. People who have watched, in horror, as melanoma slowly took the life of a loved one. People of all, and I do mean ALL, ages. Some in strollers. There was a wheelchair or two. Some walked, some ran, some watched. ALL supported a common goal and that was to announce

Melanoma, we're coming after you and you will not escape.

Jess laid it on the line beautifully when she spoke on behalf of Team Melissa. I wish I had a copy of her speech, but she, in effect, said, "Melanoma took the wrong one when it messed with MY sister. I'm going to do what the Komen Foundation did and one day people will see black ribbons everywhere and know what they stand for."

Melanoma, Jess is coming after you! And I tell you something else. I've contacted a mutual friend and want to get her plugged into the melanoma community so we can work together and make her dream come true. That's the dream we all share.

Do you know what it's like to feel hundreds of human spirits, touched by God's Spirit, all in one place? That's one heck of an awesomely powerful feeling and I'm wrapped up in it. Still.

And there were those who wanted like everything to be there and couldn't be. They were "with" us in spirit, plastered on signs, on t-shirts, and on BILLBOARDS! Their presences were felt and celebrated. Their human spirits transcended time and place and were among us. We all felt them.

Melanoma, those you're trying to keep down are a powerful force to be reckoned with and they are coming after you!

And we and our one event are the tip of the iceberg. There are events all over the map, of various kinds, and there will be more. People are asking "How do I start something?" People who know the pain and heartache and who don't want others to know it. Mamas and daddies and spouses and children who don't want other people to carry the pain they'll never be able to put down.

Melanoma, these people were the wrong people to mess with. They're coming after you.

And that's a huge thing I brought away from this weekend and I will carry and use to motivate me.

We came from all over. We came to meet people who know and understand what others do not. We came to hug and cry and smile and laugh and support and be a united front that will not only stay united, but grow.

We're not going anywhere either. We've got a declared job to do and we've got the passion, determination, and fire to do it.

Melanoma, you've ticked off the wrong people...hmmm...maybe you ticked off the right people. The right people for this task before us.

Some of us have weak flesh, thanks to you. But we all have strong spirits. Most importantly of all, the Strongest Spirit of all leads us in battle.

Melanoma, pack your bags. We're coming after you and we shall prevail.

God always finishes what He begins.

And I am oh, so, grateful!