The holiday season is full of hopes, happiness, stress and sadness at the same time. I remember last year right before Thanksgiving I started to realize that I may lose my late husband when he was sleeping, or more accurately, when he was struggling with his breathing during the night. We barely made it home on time from the hospital for our family Thanksgiving dinner. Then, after many sleepless nights, and many hospital stays, he made it to our Christmas family gathering. Then scary moments happened more often, he began just suddenly losing consciousness. The complete nightmare was when I was driving on the snowy freeway to his doctor and he was out. It was a race of life, but he made it again! I was seriously worried that he would not make it to the New Year, but he did. Although he passed away at the end of January, I know he is my hero because he never gave up, always being so upbeat and positive. He never stopped kickin.
To be honest with you, I am not sure if I could be that brave, strong and upbeat if I was the one who had to go through all the painful treatments. Kathy Regan is dealing with a similar situation with the same type of upbeat attitude my late husband had. I don’t personally know Kathy, I only know she lives in Royal Oak, Michigan and she is currently battling severe appendix cancer. I planned to visit her and write a story about her, but at the last second I realized that I was not strong enough yet to handle it.
Anyway, I know Kathy through an organization called “Still Kickin.” It is a non-profit that helps awesome people who are going through terrible things. Still Kickin started with a t-shirt. A thrift store t-shirt Aaron Purmort bought when he was in high school. He was wearing this t-shirt the day he had a seizure. A seizure that turned out to be brain cancer. Aaron had big plans to turn his Still Kickin t-shirt into something greater. Something that would help others. But unfortunately, Aaron never had the chance. His wife, Nora, saw Aaron’s dream through and now Still Kickin sells shirts and other apparel and accessories with proceeds going to families facing hardship.
When I checked out Nora, I suddenly noticed that I knew her. Not exactly in person, but my late husband showed me her personal blog called My Husband’s Tumor and tried to cheer me up. I remember I only read one or two posts but I was so impressed with her witty and upbeat vibes. Just like the subtitle for her blog, “It’s not a cancer story, it’s a love story. With some cancer.” Now, after 5 years, she is still Kickin to help more people who are going through hardship in their lives.
Every month, Still Kickin. chooses a Still Kickin Hero. They share their story of struggle and strength and give them the proceeds from their merchandise sales, donation-based workouts, and other events. Kathy is the November hero. Like I said earlier, she is currently battling severe appendix cancer. Her husband just lost his job, and they were recently told by their landlord that he was putting the house they’ve been renting for six years on the market. Heartbreaking? Yes. Helpless? No. Because she is handling it with such a positive attitude. “I still have my moments where I’m going nuts, like, ‘I can’t believe all this crap I’m dealing with!’” Kathy says. “And then I say, ‘Well… at least I’m still here to deal with it.’” Read more about Kathy and her story here.
Now let’s bring up the holiday cheer and help Kathy and her family so their holidays will be less stressful. You can purchase Still Kickin apparel in Kathy’s honor here and she will receive the proceeds from the merchandise sales. There are many products on its website and the prices range from $10 to $75. The money may be not enough to save a person, but it for sure will make Kathy’s life just a little bit easier. I really appreciate your support! Below is a photo of her and her family.
Photo credit: Grace Liang/@Tonypetreski
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