Stories

Patients and family caregivers have shared their stories hoping that you, too, may believe healing is possible, and valuable, no matter the health outcome.

Finding the Words After a Near-Deadly Stroke

Chris Richards speaks carefully and haltingly, her speech but not her mind affected by a stroke two years ago that nearly killed her. But the words are worth waiting for. They tell of the power of det...

Meet the Kim Family

After a routine pregnancy, Lindsay Kim encountered unexpected labor complications and needed an emergency C-section in order to save her baby Hazel’s life. Unfortunately, Hazel was deprived of oxyge...

Strong and Brave: One Child’s Fight with Cancer

As I was about to watch my five-year-old undergo chemotherapy, I had a vivid dream that calmed the fear of the unknown. In my dream, Gavin’s neurosurgeon stoically walked out of surgery, telling us ...

How Bob Survived Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Bob Kaufman wasn’t used to a slow-paced life. Once a producer on the nationally televised CBS: This Morning, he’s now the chief communications officer for the state of Texas Department of Tran...

Meet the Luthers

On Memorial Day weekend of 2013, Kevin and Tara Luther noticed something odd: the left side of their son Nolan’s face wasn’t as animated as it usually was. Their holiday weekend turned int...

A Place for Bringing Hearts Together

It’s been a long two-and-a-half years since the moment my son Graham was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare eye cancer. What we thought was a lazy eye turned into the diagnosis no one wants t...

Telling My Story

“I have cancer, and I’m telling you that I have cancer.” Stephanie Hunter was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in May. Disorienting enough as it is to wrestle with a new diagnosis, she also h...

With 9 years now passed since my baby daughter finished active treatment for stage IV neuroblastoma, I don’t think about cancer every day anymore. I am probably down to a few days a year. Maybe, eventually, it will become only once a year, for Kate’s long-term follow-up. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Badges of Honor

My girl is 10 now, a sweet redhead with big brown eyes. While scars on her body from surgeries, biopsies and a central line for chemo are “badges of honor”—marking her as a cancer survivor—Kate has no memories of what was an agonizing and traumatic experience for our whole family. We have scars, too.

In some small way, I am glad Kate was a baby and not able to remember any of her 8 months of treatment. She wasn’t able to talk yet, but she was fully conscious, and in a lot of pain. But she did not cry. She used to clasp her hands—like praying hands. It was her signal of pain. That was her state of being.

But just as Kate has healed physically over the years, I have healed emotionally. CaringBridge has played a big role in that. I did not start a website for Kate with the intention of healing. But that is what happened. It has been such a valuable life link.

Searching For Positive Cancer Stories

Early on, I was desperate to read anything about neuroblastoma that was not terrifying. I wanted to find a success story, but I kept seeing, “50 percent die.” (Note: Everyone tells you after a diagnosis not to search the Internet. But you do it anyway. And then you often wish you hadn’t.)

I became CaringBridge friends with another Mom whose son had neuroblastoma. We became friend-friends, from being in the same bad movie together. Her son did not survive, but she and I remain connected through her work as a neuroblastoma activist. She gives back to honor his memory.

Giving Back

I do my best to give back, too, as much in gratitude for my Kate’s positive outcome as to support the families of any kid facing cancer. We all share a raging hate for this disease. But I have found that giving of my “time, talent, treasure,” as the saying goes, has helped transform my strong emotions into healing.

For me, healing came through the hundreds of CaringBridge Journal entries I wrote when Kate was in treatment. And I felt it when a former colleague, on the verge of a neuroblastoma diagnosis for his son, asked me to come to the hospital. I couldn’t make the cancer go away, but it was so powerful to be there with them.

At a practical level, I have been able to contribute to improving technology at the hospital where Kate received her treatment. I am also a supporter of the Children’s Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation, for which we once organized a garage sale that raised almost $10,000. This story sticks with me: We were about $1,000 short of what we had hoped to give to CNCF. I was thinking about how to make up the difference, when there was a knock at our door. A couple who had been following Kate on CaringBridge simply handed me an envelope with a check for $1,000. It was magical.

Support and Healing

More recently, I was invited to join the Board of Directors at CaringBridge, where I get to see support and healing from the other side. It takes my breath away. At a recent Storyteller breakfast, hosted by CaringBridge as part of Giving Tuesday, my husband, Matt, brought Kate, and our son, Ryan, to the event to say a quick hello before school.

I was interested to gauge Kate’s response. She knows she is a cancer survivor, but she is still a young girl. The breakfast scones interested her more than the room full of grownups gathered to celebrate and support CaringBridge.

But now Kate is starting to put things together. I have a feeling that as my daughter grows up, and begins to “own” the sharing of her health story, she will inspire and encourage others to get the help and support they need. It will be Kate’s way of giving back.

Here When You Need It

Are you or a loved one caring for someone on a health journey? If so, start a CaringBridge website, where you can share updates and receive encouragement and support from your community.

Karen Hohertz-Jacobs, of Minnesota, is a CaringBridge Mom and Board of Directors member, as well as a Senior Director at Best Buy.