I do not know Terri Silsby. When attending the American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Baldwinsville last week, the hundreds of luminaries surrounding the track at the Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium on the campus of C. W. Baker High School in Baldwinsville, New York was a sight to behold. Each luminary was decorated in honor of survivors and those who have lost their lives to one of the terrible diseases under the blanket name of ‘cancer’. As I was looking for a way to capture them and, though many had very lovely designs and tributes, I was looking for a simple one which showed the love I could feel as people would stop at the luminaries to read, photograph and comp-template them. When I came across Terri Silsby’s, I knew I had found it. Simple and loving. As I said, I don’t know her but I know she has courage in facing the battle against her cancer. I know she has a positive attitude and does everything she can to become well again. She has a loving family behind her to support her through the roller-coaster cancer puts its victims through. Terri Silsby has hope. Hope that one day she will be cancer free.
I know this because cancer has invaded my family over the last year. I have seen such courage, positive attitude, loving support and hope in my Aunt who died of pancreatic cancer in the spring of 2008. Late in 2008, my Nephew was diagnosed with stomach cancer and died from surgery in January of this year. We lost our beloved cat in the fall of 2008 to cancer.
These loses were hard on my family and myself. Then the news came one year ago this Sunday that my sister had brain cancer. She has since endured three surgeries, radiation therapy, oral chemotherapy and, recently, intravenous chemotherapy. Throughout all this, my sister’s health has had set backs and successes. It is hard to watch as the cancer and the treatments to halt its spread take away her freedoms and proud independence. She now has to rely more and more on others for help to live day to day. Every week brings new challenges, doctor appointments and the occasional hospital stay. No one knows how long my sister will be with us but her courage, attitude, family support and hope continues to amaze me, just as Terri Silsby does for those who love her.