Pink bracelet a reminder of cancer stories
Published 9:00 pm Thursday, October 26, 2017
For the past week and a half, I have been wearing a pink bracelet on my right wrist.
It is a simple construction of silicon in the fashion of the yellow Livestrong bracelets that started the fad when I was in middle school.
This one simply reads survivor and was given to me to by a true survivor, Lucy Spangler, when I met with her and three other members of the Crawford Street Choir to take a photo for our annual pink edition.
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Doing the pink edition is one of the most fulfilling and difficult things I have been asked to do since arriving in Vicksburg. We did something similar in Bainbridge when I worked for the paper there, but on a much smaller scale.
My journey with the pink edition started in late September when I attended the Believers of Faith Cancer Organization’s inaugural breast cancer walk.
There, I had the chance to have brief discussions with a few survivors and people impacted by breast cancer and hear their stories. That particular story was more about the walk itself than the people and their journey with the disease, so I didn’t have ample opportunity to hear their full stories.
My other assignment for the pink edition was to highlight Anita Lofton, Elizabeth Thornton, Susan Johnston and Spangler, who all sing in Crawford Street’s choir, and have all had journeys with the disease.
I am so honored that these four incredibly strong women were willing to sit down with a stranger they had never met and share their stories of pain, struggle and maybe a little joy.
They each had unique stories very much their own, and it was incredibly powerful to hear their tales of the low points like the days they couldn’t get out of bed after having chemo treatments.
What was even more incredible though was hearing the moments they found joy even in the most difficult fight of their lives. The hours watching cartoons in bed with their children or the strength lent them by their husbands. The joy they felt when they were told they were cancer free and maybe even a joke about not having to clean their house when going through treatment because of help from friends being a positive.
Putting together this edition and writing these stories is never easy. Sitting through the interviews and then relistening to them while transcribing and finding out how to pull it all together was emotionally taxing I will admit.
It is worth every second spent and every time I had to stand up from the keyboard and walk away for a minute though. These are stories that deserve to be shared. They are stories of strength and perseverance and hopefully someone who is struggling through their own battle will read one of our pink edition stories and find the strength they need if they are struggling.
That is why I have been wearing the pink bracelet for the past week. It is a reminder of strength. Thank you for letting me share your stories.
Brandon O’Connor is a staff writer at The Vicksburg Post. You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org