Strength comes in many forms and it’s meaning changes to fit the situation.
There is emotional strength. To me, being emotionally strong means being in control and aware of your feelings. It is allowing oneself to feel the power and beauty of emotions and handle them as necessary. Emotional strength doesn’t mean you don’t cry: it means after you’re done crying you understand the reason for it and know how to move forward from that point.
Mental strength requires a deep knowledge of oneself. You understand your limits just as much as you get your weaknesses and how to balance the two of them. It is the voice inside that tells you that you can, when the rest of the world is screaming at you that you can’t.
Physical strength, to me, can be categorized into two seperate types: pain tolerance and ability.
What does any of this have to do with Elena and cancer, you ask? Frank Newby. That’s what (or, whom I should say).
We have been incredibly blessed to have so many people rally behind our family during this time. People donating their time, money and emotional support to us so that we can focus on Elena and getting through this without having to stress about everyday worries. I am so thankful for every single person who has been there for us through this, in every and any capacity that they’ve shown their support.
The support we received from Frank Newby was so very different from the standard ways people have reached out to us. He pledged to put his strength to the test: emotional, mental and physical, for Elena and her battle through cancer. At the ABF #cancersucks Mud Run yesterday, Frank pushed himself to continue to run the course, time and time again, in an effort to raise money for Elena, our family and treatment costs. This is a 4 mile course with 36 obstacles. We pulled up, watching a team carry a tree (yeah, a chopped up, huge and heavy piece of lumber) down train tracks… They crawl through mud, wade through water, climb walls, and God only knows what else that I wasn’t able to see from our viewing spot. We waited for Frank to come around, him not knowing Elena was there to encourage him. He was on his THIRD run of this course already. When we saw him turn the corner, tired and exhausted my heart stopped. This man, this incredible man I have never met is putting his body, mind and soul through extreme tests of physical and mental strength in the name of my daughter. Seeing his smile, even from the distance we were at, as he realized who is was waving at him and cheering for him is a moment I will never forget.
The organizers had asked me to give him words of encouragement and I choked up. You see, I know we are a strong family…but we’ve had to be. Cancer showed up on our door, hitting our youngest daughter and while it has been a turmoil of emotional and mental battles, we have made it through because it is not a choice not to. Watching someone you don’t even know make the choice to test every aspect of their strength for the sake of your daughter is impossibly emotional and ridiculously inspiring. And that’s what all of this had to do with Elena and cancer. Inspiration and strength.
Elena is both: inspirational and ridiculously strong. And so is Frank Newby. Our family met someone yesterday I hope to have in our lives for good. I can’t wait for the day that Elena is off of treatment and her immune system is not a concern as it is right now and our children can play together. I hate cancer. It sucks. But yesterday, Elena met a kindred spirit. And I look forward for him being a part of her life, watching her grow, thrive, kick the shit out of cancer and never look back.
Thank you Frank, and to the amazing people that surround you, for your inspirational support for our family!