How do we pick our heroes?

Heroes often are personified as athletes, actors, musicians, teachers, doctors, nurses, firefighters, police officers, etc.. However, real heroes are ordinary people like you and me doing extraordinary things.

To me, heroes are the cancer patients, who are fighting the fight of their life. The one difference between my heroes and yours are that mine do not get to choose this daunting task. The job of a cancer patient is one no one would choose.


Let me tell you more about one of my heroes, who we will call Jane to protect her identity. Jane is a breast cancer patient. She is a wife, mother of two, daughter, sister, friend, employee, treasurer of the PTA at her children school, Relay For Life committee member and much much more. Not only does she do all of the things I just listed, but also drives 40 minutes into Boston to receive weekly treatment. The kicker for me is that Jane is always smiling. Why does Jane do this? It’s to show that she refuses to change the sunny person she’s always been. Cancer can’t take that away.

Our children grow up and say to us I want to be a lawyer or teacher or firefighter. No one ever says I want to be a cancer patient. What can we do as parents to teach our children to always be strong? How do we give them the strength and courage to face a difficult situation for themselves or others? Jane’s parents must have taught her many of these things because I don’t know anyone as strong. We all wake up differently. Yesterday, I woke up saying to myself I am way too tired and pressed the snooze button on my alarm clock four more times. Imagine waking up and wondering how you are going to get through the morning after being so tired from chemotherapy treatment plus getting the kids on the bus and off to school before emailing your boss a report she is waiting for by noon. Then you get up and your feet are throbbing when you touch the ground because you have neuropathy from all the chemotherapy you are having pumped into your body. There’s no snooze button for this scenario and it’s a job that cancer patients don’t get to quit!

That is exactly why all cancer patients are my heroes. Cancer patients choose survival at great costs. They balance more than most of us do in a day for themselves, their families and friends.


In the month of April, I challenge you to post a comment about your own personal hero. These stories will empower all of us to fight through another day.

Jane- you know who you are. I love you and you are truly my #1 hero!