BATTLE CRIES AND BUTTERFLIES
At certain times in our lives, our age becomes a signal of an approaching milestone. Twenty-four make us realize that we will soon be 25 and that we are truly becoming those adults that we thought we would never grow up to be. Thirty-four will remind us that we are edging to the sometimes dreaded 40. And then 44 whispers how quickly time has flown and we will soon be 50. But for Mary Kreamer Gifford, these ages were more than milestones, they became battle cries.
A little over a year after the death of her mother to breast cancer, Mary at the age of 24 had her own experience with breast cancer and with what would become her signature action; she stood tall and never looked back. She was determined to win this battle. And she did – for 10 years. Then 34 and another cry came out for another fight with breast cancer. Once again she kept her goal in sight and 10 years went by like a grateful sigh of a winner. Then at 44 she knew something was wrong and after insisting that her doctor pay attention, she was introduced to a new enemy – stage 4 ovarian cancer. Once again the warrior was ready.
She knew that the good things in her life were what mattered. She knew that having loving family and friends to share good food, good wine and travel to amazing places were worth the battle. Like a butterfly breaking from her cocoon, she stepped up and she stepped out. Mary began the aggressive fight and did things that she never imagined she could do. She spoke out. She became a founding member of the Norma Livingston Ovarian Cancer Foundation and she told her story in her sweet and quiet manner that made you know that you had met someone really extraordinary. She was a true example of how strong a spirit can become as she continued to enjoy her friends, her family and her travels. She was grateful for every moment.
Mary showed us that patience will bring persistence and persistence will become courage and from courage Mary showed everyone how to love each and every moment. One quiet Sunday morning, the battered warrior now a beautiful butterfly, chose a new adventure and took flight. Mary taught us that everyone is precious and every day is a gift. Mary is our reminder that although some battles will come on a whisper, you must meet them with a roar of courage and love.