I met a guy years back when I worked as an advertising account executive for a radio station. He was just someone I met for business, but ended up being one of my most trusted and closest people in my life, Nico. Upon hearing that I found a bone marrow match and planning my staycation at Karmanos Cancer Center, he took it upon himself to throw me one of the nicest parties I’ve ever had; Fishbones for Bone Marrow Drive and Fundraiser, at his restaurant in St. Clair Shores, MI. Not only did he get the food (sushi, fish, shrimp, and even a little alligator), live music he had professionally made posters featuring the Fishbones’ custom design and branding. Those ads were placed in a print publication and I know, being in ad sales, it isn’t free. I was blown away by his generosity, as was EVERYONE who attended.
Be The Match attended the event, too. I know that although I found my match, there are THOUSANDS of other patients who are still looking for theirs. They came and helped to spread the word and tell people how EASY it is to swab your mouth and get registered. The party was amazing and then one of my dearest friends from college, Jeff Haase, went up to make an announcement to tell everyone that Be The Match there to register people to the National Marrow Donor Program. I've known Jeff since 1997, when we went started at Oakland University and let me tell you that he owns more Polo attire than Ralph Lauren. I adore him and realized that although we haven't had a whole lot of heart to heart talks, he adores me too. When it became difficult for him to make the announcement, pausing a few times to let a couple tears fall, I knew that he truly cared and that we’d be friends for life. He is the best.
It was then my turn; impromptu speech. I thanked Nico and everyone for coming out to support me and this next chapter in my life. Standing there, with everyone looking at me, I felt an overwhelming feeling of love. I was doing pretty good, thanking people and even cracking a joke about looking sexy with no hair after chemo. Then, in the midst of my ramblings, I saw someone; my dad. He was sitting at his table, wearing a white shirt and leaning slightly to get a good view of me from the back of the room. At that very moment, all I could think about was how much I love my dad, my hero. So, I just said it out loud, into the mic, in the middle of my thank you, "I love you, Dad" and the tears just fell. I couldn't stop crying. I love my family, my dad, my mom, my sister, and my son. I took that moment to let my son know that HE is my life, my heart and my inspiration to live and to beat this cancer. I needed him to know that, right then and there, and to hear it out loud.
People have since told me that there wasn't a dry eye in the room and that everyone took a little something from my moment with the mic. I just know that as long as my family and friends know that I feel truly blessed to have their love and support, I will never be alone through this.