Survivor Story

Hard Days, Hopeful Endings…

There are lots of hard days in Patricia Harrison’s cancer survival story. Hard days loaded with challenging moments – it is a theme that sounds too familiar to all cancer survivors.

Patricia was diagnosed on June 27, 2012 with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in her kidneys. June 27 was one of those water shed days that served as both the end and the beginning. It was the end of a year-long question mark surrounding her health. She had been sick for a year, culminating in a 19-day hospitalization.

For whatever reason, hers was an elusive diagnosis. For days, doctors puzzled over her symptoms, unsure of the cause.  Finally, her question marks were given a name: Cancer.

It was also a beginning. The year ahead would be, perhaps, more difficult than the one behind, but it was the beginning of the road to health.

Six years later, Patricia is said to be “cancer-free.” Two words all families touched by cancer are desperate to hear.

It is a journey we are all on, the one to hear the words “cancer free.” It is why research is important. It is why organizations like the Kay Yow Cancer Fund exist.

Coach Yow was familiar with beginnings and endings. She was a coach. So much was marked off by the passage of time. The beginning of practice, the end of practice. The beginning of the game, the end of the game. Season after season complete.

When it came to cancer, Coach Yow likely knew long before the rest of us that her end would come before theend. She started the Kay Yow Cancer Fund to carry on the work of impacting the fight against ALL women’s cancers. Advancing research, boosting the underserved, changing the beginnings and endings for so many women.

In the big scheme of things, six years is only a fraction of a blimp on the radar of history, but in the world of cancer research, so much has changed. There are new diagnostic techniques that allow us to detect cancer sooner and in less invasive ways. There are stronger medicines, medicines that were created to have specific outcomes on specific cancers. There is less “one size fits all.”

In the midst of hard days, there is hope in the journey. Hope in knowing that as individuals and as a team, we are united in our desire to hear the words “cancer-free.” It is the ending we are all working toward. It is the end that gives us hope.


To donate to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, visit

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