This entry was written by Tyesha Love, 2012 Butterfly Ball Gala Honoree and LBBC advocate. The Butterfly Ball honors women who have made an impact in the community by helping others affected by breast cancer.
After my season with cancer, I developed a passion for educating, empowering and supporting other survivors and their loved ones. I wanted to inspire them to hold on to hope, just as so many others had done for me in my season. My family, friends and various cancer organizations gave encouragement and showed their support in a plethora of ways. They were a major impact on my recovery as their support was crucial to my holding on to faith and hope.
My goal simply became to engender awareness, offer support and provide comfort and empathy to other survivors, their loved ones and caregivers. I find such joy having a positive impact on their lives the way so many had on mine. I never sought or expected to get anything more from my efforts, other than the feeling of gratification from having touched people’s lives. It was heartwarming to learn that survivors and their loved ones were moved by my experience and efforts.
Needless to say, when Living Beyond Breast Cancer requested to have me as an honoree at their 2012 Butterfly Ball for my courage, strength and compassion, I was completely surprised. Astounded, anxious and excited…I humbly accepted.
My experience, having been diagnosed with cancer, has been a stepping stone, not a setback. While in my season, I cursed cancer. I doubted my ability to overcome such a plight. I allowed myself to feel defeated and become the victim. My memoir, I Am Not My Hair, A young woman’s journey and triumph over breast cancer, shares my story – a raw, authentic, frank and genuine telling of a season with cancer; an overwhelming roller coaster ride of victory and defeat.
Further into my journey toward survivorship, I realized cancer came as a blessing in disguise. Instead of allowing myself to get lost in a world of cancer, I triumphed over the disease. I grew stronger; I saw life with a new set of eyes – cherishing loved ones and valuing the simple things in life more so than I ever did. I wanted nothing more than to give back and that is what I set out to do for other survivors.
Having LBBC acknowledge and reward my efforts is such a great honor. It is an honor to receive an award for something I simply felt I was being called to do; something I felt was my responsibility to other survivors. This acknowledgement is proof I have and continue to accomplish what I set out to do and it is motivation to continue in this mission.
What I look forward to most as a Butterfly Ball honoree is to be in the presence of other survivors – being motivated and inspired by their stories. I look forward to the enhanced feeling of accomplishment – the success of making a positive impact on the lives of others who are pushing their way thought a season with cancer. I eagerly await this event to celebrate with those whom dedicate their time and resources to empowering others.