A mother’s love: How family and laughter have helped me in my cancer fight

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How many people do you know who laugh at their own jokes? I mean, belly laugh? That’s my mom.

But the thing is she really is funny. I often talk of the healing effect of laughter. I may have never fully understood the true meaning of that advice if I had been born into another family.My mom, who is 5 feet 2 inches tall, weighs 100 pounds soaking wet, raised 9 children (six daughters and three sons). She never lost her shape, her style or her humor. (OK, there was one incident with a hair brush, but let’s not go there.)

In fact, probably one of the greatest gifts she has given her children is the ability to see the fun in life and to make each other laugh. We are all fun and funny, which really helps when you are dealing with a chronic illness. I always walk away buoyed and full of love when I am with my family.

By now, you’ve realized this is about Mother’s Day. I believe the laughter, the attitude toward life, and my spirituality is what has kept me alive. My dad drives downtown every week to the Cathedral to light what he calls “one of those big jobs!” That means the big $5 candle, not one of those silly votives. No, he’s going for the big guns. Since I was told I had three to five years to live (I’m approaching 13 years since that time), I think my family and my dear friends (all funny people, too), have had a hand in keeping me alive. By fate, the luck-of-the-draw or whatever they call it, I was placed on earth with people who would end up being responsible for saving my life.

I have lost so many friends to breast cancer, and to other cancers, that it makes me sick inside. So many of my girlfriends have lost their mothers, aunts and grandmothers. When will the madness end? It will end in a way that will shock and mystify.

I don’t think for a minute that by 2020 there will be an end. There will probably be no end, but the research being done today will find new drugs that will turn cancer into a disease we can live with. It will become a treatable disease like HIV or diabetes, a disease we can live with and not die from.

This must be the philanthropic goal … and the burden is on us. The direction of philanthropy is the individual donation.

My girlfriend Beth, whose mother died recently of breast cancer, is doing her share this way: She has created a beautiful “Grace” tribute bracelet (in sterling silver the price is $89), and the profits will go to The Noreen Fraser Foundation for cancer research. This is an example of how people can help. I am so appreciative of friends who give of their talents.

This gorgeous, sterling silver tribute bracelet will be sold from now through Oct. 31. It is so beautiful! Thank you, Beth.

God bless all of the wonderful moms in the world. Celebrate! Sunday is your day, and you deserve to be honored!

Noreen Fraser is living with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. She is the Founder and CEO of the Noreen Fraser Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to funding groundbreaking women’s cancer research. To stay in touch with Noreen, please ‘LIKE’ The Noreen Fraser Foundation on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. Noreen can be contacted via email at noreen@noreenfraserfoundation.org.

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