About five years ago I noticed everyone wearing a yellow rubber bracelet with the words LIVESTRONG on their wrist. I knew it had something to do with the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Cool I thought. One day shortly thereafter, while working out at my 24-hour fitness, I noticed they had them for sale for just $1.00. So, I bought one and have been wearing it ever since. Besides being an inexpensive piece of “jewelry,” it’s also become the biggest $1.00 lesson I’ve learned, and I now wear it proudly today for a reason.
It all started on a golf course in Maui about three years ago. I guess up to this point, I had never really made the connection in my mind that this bracelet signified support for the fight against cancer. Shortly before this day on the golf course, my wonderful sister-in-law, Lorraine, was diagnosed with cancer, and was going through a horrific time with chemotherapy. It was sad for our family and especially my brother, Steve, Lorraine’s husband. As I quickly found out, he was the most supportive husband to Lorraine, always at her side. I knew, however, it was tearing him up inside and I saw him go through some changes. We used to talk all the time, however, during that period we hardly talked; probably for two reasons. One, he was devastated, depressed and really had nothing to say and, two, with the death of both my parents and other members of our family, I was scared and had no idea what to say nor do. So, I blocked it out of my head, but it was bothering me tremendously inside–I felt deeply for my sister-in-law, plus, my brother was really my best friend and I missed our conversations.
Then an embarrassing moment happened on the golf course. By way of background, George, and his family moved to Maui three years ago after he retired from UPS. Just a few months after they started their retired life in Maui, he was diagnosed with cancer. Steve, his brother-in-law, graciously invited me to play golf with a group of guys, one of whom was George. Though George was tired, he still played golf (and he is good). Well, we were golfing, George noticed my Livestrong bracelet and asked me why I wore it. Well, I said, “it only cost a buck and it was cheap jewelry.” George never said anything to me, but after I said it, it hit me hard. Open mouth, insert foot. This bracelet represents the fight against cancer and George was just diagnosed with this horrible disease. Then I thought about my sister-in-law and what she was going through. She was winning the battle, and I even talked about her success with George during that round of golf. However, I felt like a complete idiot for my flippant comment about the bracelet.
Since that embarrassing moment, I wear my bracelet for a reason other than what I initially naively purchased it for. Every day I wear it in honor of my sister-in-law, Lorraine, and George, who are both doing very well and winning their battles against cancer. Now when I look at this bracelet, I think of them both and say a little prayer that they continue to do well and live their lives to the fullest. I also wear this bracelet for everyone else who is winning their battle against cancer, which includes my other sister-in-law, Lettie, and even my brother, Ron, who had a brief encounter with cancer a year ago. Being a runner, there are many stories of cancer survivors who took up running and successfully finished a 5K, 10K, Half-Marathon or Marathon. More importantly, they are winning the race of life!
So, little did I know that the crumbled up $1.00 bill I purchased that yellow bracelet with five years ago would provide such a lesson and constant meaning in my life! “Wear Yellow, LIVESTRONG!”
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