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A Chance Encounter Made Me Realize Cancer Fighters Are Never Truly Alone

February 4th, 2018 |
Awareness & Education, Emotional Support

by chef-ryan-callahan | Supporter: Breast Cancer    Connect


As I sit in my booth at Wizard World ComicCon, I was trying to come up with inspiration to finish writing this blog post. I had a solid 280 word blog post written, that was good, but not great. I know what World Cancer Day means to me, but what did it mean to you, the reader? Then at the end of the day, a 17 year old girl came over dressed as a video game character and began to talk with me. We laughed, we joked, and I gave her the spheil on my new cookbook. This intrigued her and she began to color in my new book at our coloring station. As we talked we delved deeper and deeper into her life until she confided in me that she had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 12. Here was this happy healthy girl who as I found out, had spent 4 years battling cancer and now was finally in remission so she got to go out and be a kid again. I always say that people who battle cancer are never alone. But, it was at this moment that it truly hit me. We never ever are truly alone.

This is what World Cancer Day is all about. Its not about raising money for research, its not about getting funding for your organization. Its about all the cancer fighters, survivors, supporters, caregivers, family members, and friends of those affected by cancer coming together and saying "We are not alone." Because in this simple phrase, there is power, and where there is power, change can happen. We can make this world a better place. We simply have to choose to.

We all know my story, my mother was diagnosed with cancer, I acted as her full time caregiver, and in the process found the need to teach people how to overcome eating related treatment side effects. I took the bad (cancer) and found the good (the love and happiness that comes from a home cooked meal.) This girl inspired me because even though she had every right to be mad and angry at the cards she was delt, she turned her bad into an even greater good. Now she goes to conventions and dresses up as different video game characters to make people happy. Isn’t that ultimately what we are all looking for? As if that wasn’t enough, she also makes her own costumes from scratch, one of which is a dragon that is targeted at bringing delight to mentally handicapped children. The costume is a sensory amplifying costume that has bells, squeaky toys, various patterns and types of interesting cloth that are fun to touch, so that the mentally handicapped can have just as fun of a time at the convention as she does.

This girl embodies the good that we all can create in the world if we simply take the time out of our day to take the bad, and turn it into the good. So please, I invite you all this Sunday February 4th to embrace this year’s World Cancer Day slogans of “We Can” and “I Can” and tell the world what good you can create in the world. Don’t just tell us and forget though, show us! Take pictures, tag it on instagram, share it with the world. But, most importantly, remember that even though a cancer diagnosis and treatment can be the most frighting, isolating and terrifying thing in the world, it is not who you are, and it can never take away the fact that you are not alone.

Have you ever experienced something similar before? Share in the comments below!

Photo courtesy of Helena Lopes.


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chef-ryan-callahan    Connect

Supporter: Breast Cancer

Ryan Callahan is a classically trained as well as self-taught chef who acted as primary caregiver for his mother. During her chemotherapy, Chef Ryan developed the cooking techniques included in his book, Cooking for Chemo...and After!. For more information, you can visit cookingforchemo.org. You can find Chef Ryan on IHC under the username chef-ryan-callahan .

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