My Best Friend is a Survivor

Just a quick post but for those of you who don’t know today was National Cancer Survivors’ Day, and I had an amazing opportunity to take part in the 18th Annual Cancer Survivors’ Celebration and Walk here in Chicago, with my best friend and survivor, Mandolynn and her family. It turned out to be a beautiful morning, the rain subsided and the sun quickly shined down on all the beautiful survivors that were out there today. We sported some adorable custom made shirts and walked the 4 miles as a team, and more importantly as a family! 🙂

A Very Small Part of Mandolynn’s Support Group

At the end of the walk, an extremely inspirational woman stepped up to give a brief speech on her battle with cancer. It didn’t take long before she had myself as well as 4,000 others in tears just hearing about her struggles and the frustration she had endured over the past 8 months. Jenna Benn, a 29 year old amazing survivor of a rare Grey Zone Lymphoma cancer gained numerous followers with a blog Kill It In the Butt taking her family, friends and other survivors through her journey with cancer. In the end she quoted her path as “Twisting to Fight Cancer.” So today the one thing she asked of us was to join her on the dance floor and Do the Twist. It was literally the most touching 5 minutes of the day, standing in a field surrounded by some of the strongest people in the world, all cancer survivors ranging in ages from 2 to 80 – dancing and twisting with happiness. I myself was dancing in pure joy that my best friend was now 100% happy, healthy and cured.

Aunt Minny and Rylee

After the dance ended, survivors gathered to take one large group picture, and following that moment is when the family members really expressed their love. Watching mothers embrace their children and spouses holding on to one another the way that they did – just thankful that they came out strong and healthy – was another tipping point for me where I couldn’t even begin to try and hold back some tears. Today was truly a beautiful day, and in many more ways than one.

I love you Mandolynn, you are beautiful, amazing, inspirational, strong and the best big sister I could ever ask for!

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