A hope that endures

Published 6:00 pm Friday, May 18, 2018

The fifth annual Hope Day was every bit as encouraging as an event bearing that name should be.

As the program handed out by event organizers reads, “Five years ago (Dillwyn) Mayor Linda V. Paige proclaimed the fourth Saturday in April as Hope Day, and we celebrate the month of April, placing purple bows around the Town of Dillwyn. We honor cancer survivors and caregivers (and) learn about American Cancer Society programs.”

Donna McRae-Jones helped organize the day’s activities at Ellis Acres Memorial Park in Dillwyn, and she noted that more than $7,000 had been raised in connection to the event. The funds go to Buckingham Relay for Life.

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As I covered the morning program, I felt unity with Ms. Donna, Debra Davis and the other people in attendance whose lives had been touched by cancer.

My mother passed away in August 2012 from ovarian cancer.

It was late 2010 when she was first diagnosed. The doctors did surgery to try to remove the cancer, and they eliminated much of it, but some had spread to the lymph nodes near her heart. They said chemotherapy would be the best way to deal with that.

My dad, sister and brother and I knew then that the average lifespan of someone with this type of cancer was five years.

Chemotherapy was initially successful, and my mother’s cancer went into remission in 2011 for about six months before returning.

She had a strong Christian testimony amid her fight, as did my father, her caregiver.

I was encouraged to see the emphasis on Christ during the program on Hope Day as pastors, cancer survivors and caregivers all acknowledged God’s sovereignty in life. In the wake of a tremendous loss, this understanding truly helps one carry on and find joy in life once again.

Something I will always remember about my father is that he grieved deeply for my mom, his wife of 41 years, but because his faith in Jesus was firm, he never truly fell apart. He was able to be strong for the rest of the family, providing a vivid testimony to the grace and power of God in the midst of great trial.

I was encouraged to see similar faith and resolve on display during Hope Day, and I thank Ms. Donna and everyone else involved for that.

Titus Mohler is the sports editor for The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia, LLC. His email address is Titus.Mohler@FarmvilleHerald.com.