I spent last Friday afternoon and evening out at the Salem Greyhounds ball field, doing my part to remind everyone that "Cancer Never Sleeps."
It was the 11th annual Fulton County Relay For Life, and as a cancer survivor myself, it was also a reminder of how important it is to fight and to remember.
I was 24 when I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer -- a seeming impossibility to me. I was a young woman, just out of college, married and hoping for children. To hear that I had cancer just spun my world around like a top.
I was very blessed to have good friends who helped get me to and from my chemo and radiation treatments. And, who in the end, helped me weather my first divorce, as my husband at the time wanted children and, with my treatments and surgery, I could no longer give them to him.
For a long time, I struggled with that. I had always wanted to be a mother, and had already picked out names and was ready to decorate a nursery -- all of it, not to be.
But I have become a mom in other ways. I'm the "go-to" mom for several of my friends' teenagers, when they need to talk to someone, just not their parents. I also am mom to three dogs and five cats, and recently became a grandma when one of our cats had kittens.
I've found other outlets to nurture, including helping friends get new businesses off the ground, or being there to mediate for friends who need to make the peace when something goes awry.
And I aspire to be as good a "mom" as Linda Gregg has been to the Relay here in Fulton County. For 11 years, Linda has selflessly kept the Relay event alive and through her work, has made it bigger and better every year.
Over her tenure as chair of the Fulton County Relay, Linda has seen people drawn to the event for many different reasons, but however they arrive, she's always there to greet them with a smile and an open heart. She once told me in an interview that she has a Servant's Heart, and that is definitely something we can all aspire to.