I Am A Survivor – The Giving Keys

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August 15, 2016

I Am A Survivor

The last of my 4 children graduated high school in May 2014. Success! My husband and I had accomplished getting them all to college and now we could enjoy the freedom to be just "us" again, and do the things we'd dreamed of.

Then the unfathomable happened. Just days prior to graduation, I was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. It came as was quite a blow to all of us. I was always very healthy and took good care of myself. It hit us hard, but family and friends rallied as I went through chemo, a double mastectomy, and radiation. The kids friends were especially caring and compassionate. I think it really hits home for them when real life things happen to their friends--they realize that even "good" families have bad things happen.  

It's been 2 1/2 years, and I've adjusted to my new normal. I'm not as strong as I was, but managed to hit a goal of running (and I use that word loosely) in our local breast cancer 5K this past October. It was an incredible day and everyone was there to cheer me on. I can honestly say I never thought I'd have the energy to push myself hard again, but I did it!

My daughter is home this summer from college. Last night, an old high school friend of hers stopped by for a visit. She said she had something to give me that she had received in the mail a while back, but just hadn't had the opportunity to get it to me. It was a Giving Key. It said "Survivor". She explained that she had given my daughter a Giving Key (Hope) when I was sick. She shared her story with you and you sent her this for me. I was so touched and it brought me to tears because I realized how far I've come since the last time she saw me. I am a Survivor!

-Denise

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Through the purchase of your Pay It Forward products, The Giving Keys has generated hours of work for people transitioning out of homelessness.