Yesterday a dear friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer. My heart sank and then I remembered that even in the pain, cancer cannot steal joy. As we approach Easter, I’m reminded that cancer cannot destroy the hope we have in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I also remembered this “Survivor’s Speech” that I gave at a RELAY FOR LIFE rally in Hollywood, Florida in 2006.  I must have saved a copy of it because it meant something to me.  I hope that now – 9 years later – these words still ring true and will have meaning for someone else.  To encourage someone who needs to be encouraged, bless someone who needs to be blessed and inspire someone who needs to be inspired. And to my fellow cancer survivors and to those who are presently in the struggle, I still say, “God bless you.”

Opening Ceremony Survivor’s Speech
Hollywood, Florida
Friday, April 28, 2006

My name is Karen King.  I was diagnosed with cancer in December 1996 – almost 10 years ago!  To my fellow cancer survivors, I say “God bless you!”  I know many of you have suffered and are suffering more than I.  It is an honor to represent you and my hope is that I represent you well.

I think that we can all say that cancer changes things.  During my 9 months of treatment I prayed a lot and asked myself many questions and I came through that time learning many things.

#1   My life is precious to me and every day is a gift…a gift not to be taken for granted.  And as  cancer survivors I know we can all appreciate having hair – in any amount!  We can all agree that there are no longer any “bad hair” days!”

#2   People like you have great capacity for compassion and kindness and for this we as survivors are so grateful and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

#3   Faith and hope are real.  As a Christian I have great comfort and peace knowing that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Lord of my life.  Cancer deepened my faith and increased my hope.

Many people have worked hard – very hard – to bring about this Relay for Life.  We appreciate their efforts and the efforts that each one of you has given to support the American Cancer Society and the cause to fight cancer in all of its forms.  As you walk the track today I ask you to pray for wisdom.  Pray for wisdom for researchers to unlock mysteries about this disease.  Pray for wisdom for doctors who treat cancer patients.  Pray for wisdom for families as they make important decisions.

Finally, I pray that all of us will be wise about this disease and what we can do to prevent it.  We as survivors are members of a club that we don’t want you or anyone in your family to join – the dues are too high.  It has been said that people change their lifestyles for three reasons:  fear, pain and wisdom.  So I pray that you will be free from fear.  I pray that you will be free from pain; but, most importantly, I pray that we will all have an abundance of wisdom to take what we already know about cancer and be proactive and live a healthier life – physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Thank you.