October 18, 2011
Cancer survivors learn many lessons along their cancer journey. One lesson is that adversity can lead to personal growth. The cancer journey challenges us to discover the strength and courage in each of us, while learning that we may occasionally need to rely on the talents and support of others. Cancer forces us to re-order our priorities. It teaches us that life is a blessing and that we shouldn’t let a single minute go un-lived.
Most cancer survivors come through their cancer journey with a better sense of who they are, what their priorities should be, and gratitude for having been given a second chance at life. Most survivors come through their experience with a deep sense of appreciation and generosity toward their fellow man. They feel connected to the world and to each other in a uniquely fulfilling and meaningful way.
Climbing a mountain is a metaphor that many cancer survivors use to describe their cancer experience. It’s difficult, but when you succeed, there is a rush of excitement and a huge sense of accomplishment. It’s not just about getting to the top; it’s also about life’s lessons that you learn along the way.
We will embrace these lessons as we explore the future together through Above + Beyond Cancer. During our journeys together, we are certain to experience adversity. However, we’ll begin our quest with the knowledge that adversity will lead us to higher highs and to personal growth. During our adventures, we will meet people who live simple lives. We will learn their culture and their religion. We will feel gratitude for their hospitality and we will be reminded that we are all connected on this earth. We will gain an appreciation for the magnificent beauty of our planet . We will explore our relationship with our environment and develop a sense of humility and gratitude for it’s splendor. We will kindle a desire to preserve our wonderful natural resources.
We will also learn what it’s like to be on a team with a shared purpose. We will provide each other with support. On some days we will be strong and lend help to others along the route. On other days we will be the recipient of our teammates’ assistance. The inter-reliance truly defines the human experience.
Together we hope to share many meaningful adventures that are filled with fun, laughter and tears. The insight that the cancer experience has given us and the depth of understanding that we possess will allow each our journeys to change our lives forever. We will return home with an even greater appreciation for life, our planet, and our fellow man.
As our adventure in the field comes to an end, we may find that our true journey is just beginning.
Richard L. Deming, MD
Founder & Chairman, Above + Beyond Cancer
Medical Director, Mercy Cancer Center, Des Moines, IA