Most people become advocates because they were personally affected by the cause they are fighting for. While they have smiles on their faces and work to inspire...there's a part of their hearts that are always grieving for the love they lost or the life that once was.
At least thats true for me- even after 14 years.
While our personal experience fuels us during advocacy events and awareness days we are also acutely aware of the absence of those who were lost to the disease and reminded that a part of our life is forever changed.
Advocacy is a way to turn a terrible life experience into education, awareness, and support for soneone facing similar challenges.
Advocacy events and activities can be personally rewarding and advocacy efforts can assist others and even change their lives.
Being an advocate is amazing and meaningful.
While I celebrate the progress I've been a part of and the lives I've helped to change, a part of me is alwaying grieving a little bit.
I've learned that grief is most definitely one emotion that fuels advocacy.
As long as I advocate for people with lung cancer, I will never stop grieving for my dad. Everything I advocate for reminds me that he's no longer here. Part of me finds comfort that he is still "with" me after all these years while other relatives have long stopped saying his name. While I'm on a mission to provide all these things to improve a patients survivorship, I'm reminded that my dad never had these things and he did not have a fair shot at survival.
It's really bittersweet. Even though there is a an undercurrent of sadness-- turning tragedy into purpose and a mission honors my dad.
Its also the most rewarding feeling to serve others and help to change their lives