One facet of our mission is reach out, not just in the United States, but to other countries, to begin a conversation around the many aspects of cancer. In honor of World Cancer Day, and all those living with breast cancer, I ‘d like to share a story about an amazing group of women that we met during a recent visit to Colombia.
But–let me start at the beginning.
Christmas in Colombia–what could be better? At that moment, absolutely nothing! The day was filled with spectacular fireworks, music flowed through the air and we were with a loving and very hospitable family. Then there here were days of soaking up the sunshine, dancing into the night, and eating many, many arepas, and of course–taking beautiful tutu photos. But before we left the country, we had one last and very important memory to create. One teammate, Marcela, who was born in Colombia and shared her love of this beautiful country with us for eight spectacular days, had arranged for us to meet cancer survivors from Fundación Fundayama, which is a private non-profit that has a very similar mission as The Carey Foundation.
Initially, sitting at a table with ten women, in a foreign country with a VERY limited vocabulary of Spanish (shame on me!) seemed a daunting task. I tripped over the simplest of words, how was I going to discuss a sensitive topic such as cancer?
My concern was unnecessary. Marcela patiently translated our story and the numerous questions that followed. Fifteen minutes into the visit, I noticed that an extensive vocabulary wasn’t as important as I thought. Somehow–I felt and understood from deep inside–their journey with cancer and with their compassionate expressions and warm hugs, I knew that they understood mine. We needed no translation for cancer as it’s the same in any language. Meeting these lovely women was a highlight of my trip and I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue our friendship and support of one another.
Linda Carey is the co-creator of The Tutu Project and President of the Carey Foundation. She has been living with Metastatic Breast Cancer for fifteen years and is an advocate for the breast cancer community.