Raising hope…

No, I`m not referring to the American sitcom, I`m talking about the nationwide Bounce-A-Thon yesterday when 26 Rebound studios across South Africa presented special classes throughout the day.  What a privilege it has been to join ReboundSA in this great initiative in support of CANSA!  

I was stunned to discover that the 50 tickets for our live class were sold within two weeks, and I could sense everyone`s excitement and curiosity as the day drew nearer.  But I think the day blew all our minds…

Here are a few highlights! 

We had helium balloons and cupcakes, and a buff and mousepad sponsored by Sweatgear, for every attendee.  Everyone, including our Zoom members, pitched in pink tops and tutus and colourful tights, and we even had visitors all the way from Middelburg.  Everyone was right on time, and at exactly 10:30 we kicked off our event by paying tribute to a few cancer survivors.

Luka, a 6 year old cancer survivor

There were tears, emotional moments, laughter and lucky draws, and in spite of the blasting heat with sweat streaming down our faces, it was a day I`ll never ever forget!  It was unbelievable to experience 50 people (yes there were actually two guys!) raising their collective voices, unite, take action and support a great cause in an inspiring way.

Lucky draw winners

It struck me yesterday, that we have been so overwhelmed by Covid the past few months, that we have forgotten the global cancer epidemic.  Did you know that currently, 9,6 million people die from cancer worldwide every year…? 

I believe that yesterday`s event was a powerful, unique way of using our voices to raise awareness of cancer, to emphasize that each one of us is connected to others in a unique way with a sphere of influence, and, that there`s always something we can DO.

…As I was paying tribute to my mother whom we lost to cancer in 1996, I looked into the eyes of many women and girls who are also familiar with the struggle against the mysterious disease – some are cancer survivors themselves, many others have been affected by cancer in some way.

I looked at those survivors yesterday and realized that we sometimes forget that life after cancer treatment is the hardest part of the journey.  Suddenly, the support dissipates – doctors have newly-diagnosed patients and family and friends believe you are through the worst of it and get on with their lives…

And yet, you know, I have always believed that God chooses HIS cancer patients with care.  Brett M Cordes describes it so beautifully in his book “How young minds beat an old disease”.  He says:

“When I was initially diagnosed with cancer, I questioned God’s reasoning for giving me such a debilitating disease. But then it dawned on me: He chose me to give this disease because He knew that I could handle it!”

On one of the occasions that my mother had to stay overnight in hospital after a series of chemo treatments, there was a young boy lying in the bed next to her.  You could see that he has fought a long, hard battle against cancer.  He was very ill.  That evening a visiting priest was making his rounds from hospital room to hospital room, and as he was standing beside the bed of this boy, I couldn`t help overhearing the conversation:

“Can I pray for you, son?”, the priest asked.  “I would like you to pray with me, father”, the boy said.  “But not for my health…Our farm animals are suffering.  Would you please ask Jesus to send rain soon to my dad`s farm?”

I`ll never forget that day.

In a social media post about our event, I referred to the great Jim Valvano.  This man is remembered for being many things – he was a legendary basketball player, a great coach, a loving brother, husband and father, a dear friend and more.  But above all, an inspiration.  When diagnosed with cancer at age of 46, he never gave up.

Two months before he lost his battle against cancer, he took the stage at the ESPYS and delivered a speech that will never be forgotten.  He said:

“Time is very precious to me. I don’t know how much I have left, and I have some things that I would like to say. Hopefully, at the end, I will have said something that will be important to other people, too

To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.

I just got one last thing; I urge all of you, all of you, to enjoy your life, the precious moments you have. To spend each day with some laughter and some thought, to get your emotions going. To be enthusiastic every day, and Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing great could be accomplished without enthusiasm,” to keep your dreams alive in spite of problems whatever you have. The ability to be able to work hard for your dreams to come true, to become a reality.

Cancer can take away all my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever…”

You and I, everyone in this world, we are all breathing borrowed air.  Let us not wait to go through the negative experience of cancer treatment to rediscover ourselves. Let`s all marvel and enjoy all the time we have left.  Health is real wealth and peace of mind is real happiness and let us never take that for granted.

Let`s remind ourselves to be humble in the face of our bodies.  To always feel pretty in spite of the mirror.  To slow down sometimes.  To help others with our support and our stories.  And to raise hope.  Always.

Cancer, or no cancer.  We all have the same life expectancy: one. One life, that’s all we get.

Yours in fitness


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2 comments to “Raising hope…”

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  1. Futhi says:

    What an awesome piece Mirna thank you for continuing to encourage. Life is too short and is meant to be enjoyed every day.

    Thank you

    • Mirna says:

      Thank you, Futhi, that is so true.