Today, a family is gathered to support a loved one on her journey to the other side...not as the result of a colon cancer, as so many emphasize when speaking of the Lynch syndrome, while ignoring the many other cancers it presents, but for the final blow of a series of other Lynch cancers she has experienced through the years, which are often unknown to physicians.
We cannot say farewell to her…never a farewell for someone like Cynthia, for she will remain in our hearts and will always serve as an inspiration. Through the years, Cynthia put up a incredible fight against the cancers, with an amazing sense of strength and a positive attitude. She focused upon helping others and living outside of herself. Even as early as two months ago, in her last months of life, despite being frail and tired, she stood up and educated many in Illinois, so others could live.
As a result of her beautiful compassion, dedication to others and selflessness, we have no doubt many lives will be saved and families will remain intact. She serves as a tremendous inspiration to us all. Our hearts and love are with her today, and with her family, who have selflessly worked alongside her and with us so very many can live.
We have several thousand families such as this. You seldom see them on social media chat boards, talking about themselves, their colonoscopies and their fears. You find them in the community, advocating for others, working together, playing together and giving to one another, as well as reaching out to everyone else.
Despite grief, frustration with medical apathy and ignorance and insurmountable challenges, you will find them filled with hope, and believing in miracles, despite the loss of many in their family. You will also find them grateful for every second they are with us. They best represent the character of those who have Lynch syndrome. They ARE “the face of Lynch syndrome.”
Our families are mostly quiet, stable, everyday people, working in the background and making an incredible difference delivering brochures to physicians, begging journalists to write articles, correcting internet misinformation on Lynch syndrome, organizing walks and holding events to raise funding, setting up tables in their medical facilities to educate patients, exhibiting at Health Fairs, soliciting advertising companies for billboards, and even marching in parades. You see them at Relay for Life events, Undy 500 events, and ovarian cancer events, speaking with cancer survivors—and helping them acquire the information and the strength to detect whether or not their cancer is hereditary.
They don’t simply talk, they act. They make things happen. They are the ones who are making dramatic changes for an improvement in the quality of life for those with hereditary cancers. They are the ones who are protecting families and saving lives.
Cynthia will always remain in our heart. She is one of our treasures; one of the several sparkling diamonds who have done so much and have indelibly embossed their beauty forever upon our souls and spirits…
First, there was Rachel, who, strongly advocated in the community, until the day she emitted her last breath, after losing the battle to an appendix cancer of Lynch syndrome…then there was Todd, the young father, CJ, the young soldier, Ashley, who in her tender twenties, worked on advocacy until her final days fighting endometrial cancer, and Amy, who blogged words of faith and hope, during her entire fight with endometrial cancer. Cynthia is joining a wonderful group of people who maintain their place on LSI’s Wall of Honor.
Because of them, the message has gotten out, that, today, we live. With genetic testing and regular screenings, there are many of us who, unlike those who came before us, will never experience cancer. Of the thousands in our ranks, to our knowledge, we are only aware of a loss of fifteen, during a four year period of time. Thanks to awareness, modern technology, changing our lifestyle habits and having a positive attitude, we have a great shot at life...
Our hearts and our love are with everyone during this very difficult time in Cynthia's family, and with every family who has to perform the most difficult of the rites of passage, including helping their loved ones travel toward the next stage in their journey, following life. Please know, through it all, the thousands of us are here and always will be for you, inspired by those who came before us and who live within our hearts. We will always remember. For us, there is never a farewell.