Lately I’ve been thinking about cancer. I’m not exactly sure why, other than it seems to be popping up everywhere, it being Breast Cancer Awareness month and all. Or maybe because I know I’m overdue for my annual exam and biopsy. Five years ago doctors found a lump in my thyroid the size of a small egg. As you might imagine it struck fear in me on a level I’ve never faced before. I was one of the lucky ones, each year when I get my annual biopsy and ultra sound, I send up a prayer thanking God that it’s NOT the C word.
Maybe that’s why I was so moved by the stories I heard last Thursday night at the charity event for Kicked It In Heels. I listened to the stories of survivors, and heard the doctors share astounding statistics. I remembered five years ago, when my girlfriend lost her short battle with breast cancer, leaving two babies behind. And I’ve been thinking… I should probably go get a mammogram. As I listened to the guest of honor Bershan Shaw (star of Love In The City, a reality show on OWN, and bestselling author) share her story of how she’d defied the odds and beat a death diagnosis, I was moved to near tears. This woman’s story proved yet again that everything I believe in and teach in #HustleBelieveReceive changes lives. She proved that you can be faced with something as devastating as hearing from a doctor that you have Stage 4 terminal cancer, and yet be standing in that room five years later telling us her empowering story. After her speech I introduced myself, and told her about my book project. She immediately said “I’d love to be in it!” and handed me her card. I was blown away!
As I made my way around a room with some of the most beautiful people I’d ever seen on one place at one time, I heard story after story of survival. Of beating the odds. And then I walked up to Daniel Jacobs. He’d raised his hand during introductions indicating that he was the “boxer who fought cancer” and I immediately thought he’d be a great story for my book. I had no idea who he was, and only caught his first name, but when I told him what I was working on for the book, he immediately said he’d love to be a part of it. In the few minutes we talked he told me how the doctors had found a massive tumor in his spine, how he’d been given just a few months to live, but yet here he was looking healthy as could be, radiant actually. I couldn’t help but give him a giant hug.
And then I went home and Googled him….. so yeah he’s kinda the shit. And his story had me in tears as I read through articles from USA Today and ESPN on what he’s accomplished and overcome. I’m so honored to be able to share his story in my book #HustleBelieveReceive.
It’s impossible not to be humbled and overwhelmed by these amazing individuals and the others I’ve interviewed over the past few months. I get those happy chills all over when I mention this project and EVERYONE who I’ve spoken to about being featured says they would love to be part of it.
Kicked It In Heels was an amazing event, full of positive energy, hope and the reality that cancer does not have to be a death sentence. The event was to benefit the foundation started by Dr. Janna Andrews, a close friend of Kimberley Hatchett’s (also featured in the book, and a great friend of mine). The next morning when the three of us went to brunch with my lifelong bestie Lisa Marchant (also a featured story), I couldn’t help but ask Janna if she would be open to sharing her story as well. I’m delighted to report that her inspiring story will also be coming soon in the book.
You know how they say surround yourself with people who inspire you, push you to be better and lift you higher? I’ve realized that in the past several years I’ve done just that, and look at who’s in that circle? It’s truly astonishing to be in company that I feel will always be a source of inspiration and motivation for me. #ChangeYourCrew is one of the first steps in the book, because it’s one of the fundamentals to success. You cannot be successful unless you are surrounded by successful people. I am so grateful for this experience and for the amazing people I’ve met along the way, and I can’t wait to share all of this with you all as it daily unfolds.
Anything is possible. I am living proof.