I had the opportunity to meet a wonderful person while participating in the White House | Black Market photo shoot and breast cancer awareness month campaign. Her name was Vivian Rivera. Vivian and I saw each other at the photo shoot, but we didn’t talk much because of all that was going on that day. However, we connected in spirit. In August of last year, Vivian and I were guest speakers on The MichaelaRadio Show. When we saw each other, we both said “Hey, I know you from the photo shoot.” We hugged and began a bond of sisterhood. As we talked on the show, Vivian and I tagged-teamed the interview, sharing experiences about our personal journey with breast cancer and the importance of early detection.
When we left the interview, we walked to the train station together, sharing our war stories about diagnosis, treatment, dating, and attempting to get normalcy in our lives. We gave God all the glory for His healing, His peace and His faithfulness. Vivian and I were thankful to Him for sparing our lives, so we could help someone else. As we rode the train home, we encouraged each other to “Walk in our healing,” a promising walk that negates what the doctors say or what the statistics prove about breast cancer.
Isaiah 53:4 (NIV) says “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed”. While talking, we found out that we both were on Facebook, so we promised to “friend” each other. By the time my train ride ended, I remember turning around to face Vivian. As we said our good-byes, we both smiled and said “one day at a time.”
From that point on, Vivian and I kept in touch and our friendship grew. When Vivian was diagnosed with another terminal disease, I was devastated. The last time I saw her, she looked healthy and was doing fine. I began to pray for her daily and I put her on the prayer list at my church. Through it all, she smiled and kept “Walking in her healing.” I began to have thoughts about my own cancer returning. Why was this was happening to her? When those thoughts would come, I would say to myself “God said with His stripes I am healed.” Those fears were quieted and put to rest until the next time.
On January 10, 2011 Vivian passed away. I received an e-mail and also saw postings on Facebook. I was devastated. I remember sitting at my computer crying and looking at the pictures we took together at the Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s Butterfly Ball, White House | Black Market, and at The MichaelaRadio Show. It wasn’t that long ago.
At that point, I realized that even though Vivian and I didn’t know each other for a long period of time, we still bonded on a deeper level – a level that only “sisters” who have traveled this same road would know about. I made a promise to Vivian that I would keep the fight going. I will do my part to educate and equip women with information on breast health and early detection. Knowledge is power!
Vivian was a breast cancer conqueror who fought a good fight. She will always be in my heart and I am grateful to have known her. Vivian inspires me to keep pushing forward, inspite of the obstacles I face everyday. I’m not just a survivor. I’m a conqueror! And so was she.
How has breast cancer brought you closer to someone that you wouldn’t have met if breast cancer hadn’t crossed your path? Comment here or on our Facebook page.