There are many challenges that come with being in the Peace Corps. Probably the greatest challenge, however, is being so far away from family when tragedy and challenge strikes.
Imagine then how I felt when I learned that lymphoma had been found in my grandmother’s chest. On top of the fear of losing my grandmother, I knew how much my mom would be struggling to work through the threat of losing her own mother. But there was little to nothing I could do. I was on the other side of the world. I didn’t even have internet. My grandmother beat her cancer, but is now struggling with congestive heart failure resulting from the chemo.
Within a week I learned that my step-mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer. With little information to go on and no way to follow what was happening, I had no idea what to expect. Again, there was little to nothing I could do. I was on the other side of the world. I didn’t even have internet. Most fortunately, my warrior of a step-mother won her battle with cancer.
Then there was Kay~ When my brother married this incredible woman named Karen, we learned that she came with an equally wonderful family. Her parents, Kay and Gil, were among the most supportive of us while we were overseas. They wrote us regular letters, contributed to packages, and poured on encouragement and love every time they saw us online. I don’t know how I wasn’t aware of Kay’s struggle with Multiple Myeloma, which had gone on for over a decade. We had no idea she was sick until, amongst all the other news of cancer, we were told of her 6-month prognosis, 8-months before we were due to return to the USA. September 4th, 2014, she passed away peacefully in the Huntsman Cancer Hospital ICU. There was little to nothing we could do for our star supporters. We were on the other side of the world. We didn’t even have internet. We are now enjoy the breathtaking hospitality of Gil and his son, living with them in their home.
(Enjoy this picture while you take a refreshing breath to recover from all that overwhelmingness, then finish your reading with the upbeat message below it.)
So we missed a lot when we were gone, and often felt so overwhelmingly detached from those we needed most. But now we’re back and want to make up for lost time. Every year, the Huntsman Cancer Foundation holds a fundraiser via the Salt Lake City Marathon called Huntsman Hometown Heroes.
Since Peter is a runner, and I’m a …volunteer-er, we decided to take advantage of our time in Utah and participate! Now that you’ve read our story, p-p-p-please click here and make a contribution to our personal fundraising. Even if it’s only a few dollars, every penny counts and it all adds up in the end. We thank you in advance!