Sunday, 9 February 2014

take my hand and drag me head first; fearless

this photo does not belong to me

When you're sad it's so hard to focus on anything other than feeling sorry for yourself. It's easy to ignore the sun shining and your friends smiling at you, because all you can do is think about the thing pulling you down. This time of year is kind of tough for me and I find myself in one of these moods often, when the only cure is lying in bed and staring into space for a few hours. Recently I came across an email from a woman called Heather and I don't think it could have come at a better time. I was feeling very low and just reading those words that she typed out managed to put a smile on my face.
Heather is an 8 year survivor of mesothelioma (a rare form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure) who was diagnosed and told she had 15 months to live, just shortly after giving birth to her daughter. She chose to undergo risky surgery and thankfully survived at the unfortunate loss of one of her lungs. After this, she created 'Lung Leavin' Day' which she describes as "a way to commemorate the day that changed my life forever". Heather has every reason to be unhappy, angry and bitter because of the things that have happened to her, but instead she uses them as a way to encourage people to face their fears. Lung Leavin' Day is a day that her friends and family gather at her house to write their fears on plates that they then smash into a bonfire, watching them go up in smoke. In her own words, she says that the reason for this is "One thing cancer taught me is the importance of acknowledging these apprehensions that prevent us from living our lives to the fullest extent". 
On February 2nd, Heather celebrated an amazing 8 years of being Cancer free. Although Lung Leavin' Day has passed, you can face your fears any day of the year and I still encourage you to look at the interactive website she created where you can read more about her story and smash virtual plates (link here).
The thing that amazed me about this story is the way it came into my life while my head was filled with fear. The fact that Heather can continue to inspire people and turn her situation into something that will help so many people is incredible and it makes me wish that I could be more like her. In my opinion, she is a real role model and I'm so thankful that she could contact me to tell me her story. Hearing something like this makes all my worries and doubts seem so small and insignificant and I hope that sharing it can do the same to somebody else. I am currently dealing with the pain of loss and Heather's story has put this into perspective. Rather than letting tears sting my eyes every time I see something that reminds me of it slightly, I should welcome the happy memories into my mind and be grateful that I got to experience them.
When you start to doubt that amazing things can happen in the world, one will come right at you.
Have a great week

4 comments:

  1. The lyrics from the title send me straight back to being 13...I probably still know the whole album off by heart, if I'm honest! Heather's story is incredibly inspirational and a real example of courage in the face of a very real fear - it's reminded me too that all of my little woes are tiny in comparison and to look on the bright side of life more often! Thank you so much for sharing, Laura!

    Much love, Jess | Gingerly Pale

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    1. Haha I know, I was trying to think of songs related to fear and thought 'why not add some T-swift?!'. I agree, it's incredible! Thankyou for your lovely comment <3

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  2. Aw this is such a beautiful post, heather is so inspirational and I hope that next lung leavin day has twice as many people X

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    1. I agree! I really wish the best for her and lung leavin' day :) x

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