The Journey Continues

This month I want to take a moment and share about one of our co-workers and my wife Sandie.

The Journey Continues

We adopted this phrase some years ago during a time when we were enjoying some of the life experiences that we had only dreamt about.

As many of you know after nearly three years of battling multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that had attacked her body, Sandie passed away at the end of February 2021. I can’t even begin to describe how much she is missed – by me and her Agape family of co-workers. Nor will we ever forget how she fought like a warrior to overcome this dreaded disease.

It only took .85 seconds for our lives to change beyond what we could have ever imagined. After a Sunday night ER visit, Sandie was given the news “we found cancer!”  In a calm tone (which she later concluded was because she was in shock) she looked the doctor right in the eye and said, “I can’t have cancer, I have grandchildren on the way!”

The first few weeks were consumed with appointments, tests, and the beginning of what would become months, moving into years, of treatments and chemotherapy. Sandie wore a T-shirt during that time that said it all – “I’m kicking cancer’s butt! What’s your superpower?”

From the beginning she embraced an attitude of “finding the most positive way possible” to overcome the cancer that was ravaging her body, and she never wavered from this mantra. The result led to her being described by her treatment team as an amazing inspiration. I truly feel in the months before she died, Sandie knew her time here was ending, and yet she went out of her way to protect us, especially me, from the reality of this approaching day.   

After her passing, I came across several of her day planners and at the end of each month she shared some of the most inspirational messages I have ever read. A few that have become my favorites I leave you with today:

These are not scars, they are the tattoos of my strength. I wear them with pride, lest I forget warrior blood runs through my veins.

Be strong, yet I must remember I need to rest somedays.  When you feel weak know your strength must rest. You are still a warrior giving your best.

and her final post:

Breathe darling, this is just a chapter…….it is not the whole story.

For me, there remains no doubt that Sandie’s positive attitude and her belief in her recovery was an inspiration to everyone. She was driven each day to embrace and thank each person who had reached out to her, sharing how life can change in mere seconds and be it positive or not, every individual is on a journey. She lived out her life emphasizing tomorrow is a new day and always believing you still have time.

Stephen Geib, Executive Director