My birthday wish is to beat cancer...

... my mother's cancer.  

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There's nothing like cancer to flip your world upside down.  This past March, I was at work when my sisters text me about my mother being diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer.  I immediately grabbed my stuff and ran home while trying to fight back tears on the train. But I completely lost it.

This was a shock to our family. You hear about cancer and many friends have lost loved ones from it. But it's totally different when it affects your own family. No one can ever prepare for something like this. Discussing which life insurance to get for our parents was a tough conversation me and my sisters weren't ready for.  We consulted the advice of several doctors to make sure we chose the right options to battle her cancer. Life just got f*cking real.

She had major surgery in May to get as much of the cancer out and she's currently undergoing chemotherapy to fight any possible remaining cancerous cells. Life got extremely real for me as I slept in the hospital bed next to her after the surgery.  My mother is the strongest person I know. She's stubborn and never asks for help (I guess I AM my mother's daughter). She was so helpless and it broke my heart.  She held onto me for balance as she tried to walk again and seeing her struggle broke my heart even more. I thought about how she was there holding my hand as I learned to walk as a child and here I was holding my mother up and helping her...

That moment completely changed my whole perspective of life.  Everything else became insignificant and small. I stopped worrying about stupid stuff, like dating f*ckboys or the "you can't sit with us" girls. I now only have time for people who love me, contribute positivity and add value to my life.  I used my pain and turned it into passion, where I pushed myself to do things out of my comfort zone, like running an 8k, and accomplishing new goals at work.

This birthday is different for me. I can care less about a party or getting gifts.  I'd rather just be having dinner with my family back in Ohio but I can't right now. I am dedicating this year's birthday wish to my mother.  Her treatment is set to end in December. We are praying that this will cure her completely.  For Christmas, I want to surprise her and my father with a trip for us to visit our homeland, Laos.  They haven't been back in over 10 years!  I've been doing my best to make this happen for them, like moving out of my high rise apartment into a more affordable one.

This is new for me...sharing something so deep and intimate has me in such a vulnerable place but this is much more important to me than my pride. I am sharing my story in hopes to inspire you all to hold your loved ones a little bit longer next time, speak up and say I love you more because you don't understand how precious life really is until God puts something like this in front of you.

Click here to help make my wish come true...