Given the fact that I am a leukemia survivor, and am quite active with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, I find myself making connections all the time. Connections in the medical field, connections to patients, and their family members, and connections to wonderful people who just want to do their part to make a difference…. to count, and to matter.
I am convinced that I was diagnosed to serve as a conduit or a voice in this capacity. And I love the fact that I can do what I do. I embrace that. It’s not a curse or baggage, it’s an honor to be able to help others during difficult times.
For four years now it has been very meaningful for me, and I can only hope the connections are meaningful to others as well. I have become friends with some incredible success stories. Real life heroes like Mark Rodgers, Curtis Bronson, Ali Wishnick, and David Wolovitz continue to amaze and inspire me. They are living proof that all of our efforts really do pay off.
I take pride in my “mission” when someone reaches out to me asking if I can throw a lifeline or connect with someone who may have been recently diagnosed. And it was no different when a college buddy asked me to reach out to Caroline. It was over a year ago when Caroline and I first started corresponding. She was diagnosed with leukemia and like most people she had more questions than answers.
Actually Caroline was a little different. She seemed to have direction and conviction that she would heal and rebound stronger than ever. We instantly developed a very upbeat and positive vibe. Caroline was young and had her world in front of her. She had an amazingly supportive family, many of which I had the pleasure of meeting and sharing some of that positive energy and optimism. Caroline had hope. Caroline had options. Caroline believed. We spoke often when she was in and out of treatment. I always try to walk that fine line between being respectful of space, while at the same time wanting to keep an eye out to make sure things were OK. Often time things were OK, but often they were not.
Caroline’s condition see-sawed over the course of the past year. We spoke or emailed when we could and when we couldn’t I kept a close watch on her Care Page. Sadly her condition worsened and we soon relied on updates from the backbone of her universe; her husband, Adam.
We lost Caroline on May 8th. I only had the pleasure of knowing Caroline for a very brief period of time. My sadness pales in comparison to the grief that can only be felt when someone loses their child, or their spouse, or sister. But what I can say is that Caroline Gallagher Cranston touched me…as did her entire family. For that, I thank you all.
Rest assured that Caroline and all that she stood for and fought for will only add fuel for those of us who work diligently and passionately to continue to find better treatment options, and a cure. And hopefully it will do the same for others. Please don’t wait until the time is “more right” to do something. Don’t look away because you are too busy or can’t be bothered to help. Everyone can do something. Everyone can help in some small way.
Do something for all of the Carolines in the world. And one more thing, I believe we have all been asked to hug our dogs.