|Judi Bishop, cancer survivor since age 9.|
It is an honor and privilege to be selected for this recognition. I guess you might say I was born with cancer. My first one developed on my scalp from a spot that I was born with. When I was 9 years old, it became sore and had to be removed. At age 9, it didn't have much impact on me. I can remember that it did have quite an impact on my family. At that time it wasn't a big deal and not something you heard of very often. The biggest deal was they had to shave off half my hair. That too, became unimportant when all of the bandages and tape came off and the stitches were out, my mom parted it on the right side of my head and took it over to cover the baldness on the left side. I had long, thick hair so you couldn't tell there wasn't any hair on that side of my head.
The first real impact I had relating to cancer was with a little girl named Cathy Gardner. I would go up to the hospital to see my mom who was a nurse, and saw this girl sitting in a wheelchair. She was so sad being in the hospital. I asked what she had and was told cancer of the blood. I was now in junior high. My trips became important to me so that I could visit with her and cheer her up. I did begin to think how come she is so sick from hers and I wasn't. Then one day she wasn't there anymore. My curious nature kicked in and I started looking into cancer, so I could learn the difference in the kinds that were out there.
|Judi Bishop participates in Relay for Life each July. Her granddaughter, Jacee Day, is always glad to tag along with grandma.|
Through the years, I have been inflicted with cancer three more times and each time have been very lucky. Having the knowledge that it exists in me made me very aware of the changes in my body and skin. I am not a survivor of cancer, I am an overcomer! I have faced the battle and know that it's a constant war. I don't dwell on it and refuse to have it rule my life. There is too much to be done through research and experiments to not keep fighting. Fund raisers through relays and other methods ensure that research can continue and that someday we will see an end to cancer. It not only has an impact on the person that has it, but their families as well. Perhaps the impact little Cathy Gardner had on me, was why.
When I was at the Carbon County relay last year as the guest with the most survivor years, this young man came up that was 9 years old and had been diagnosed that year and he said to me, "I don't think you're old, but I'm 9 years old and now I know that I can live to be old cause you have." Insulted? no, I was honored that I had given him hope. The hope of life. Because of cancer and living with it my whole life, today is the first day for the rest of my life. The power of prayer and a strong belief in the answers I get through them make each day worth every second. The strong bond that can develop between family members in a crisis from learning that one has cancer is one never to be broken or misplaced.
I owe my sister so many thanks for the role she played in my last cancer bout. She was brave beyond words and she stepped up to the plate to take care of me when that had never been a thought in her head ever. She hated sickness. What we shared through that made a sister bond that will last forever. A simple word of encouragement, a hug, a smile can make a person with any kind of sickness feel the world is a better place. Come join us for the relay in July and share the joy, the happiness, the sorrow and the excitement of raising money for the cancer society to aid in all the areas that it is needed in. Thank you to my family and friends who have been there for me with love and moral support through my ordeals. Thanks for the opportunity to share this with others in hopes that it will lighten their heavy hearts and make them feel some better.