The MCA is proud to introduce our very first Advocate of the Month, Noora Besharat. Noora caught our attention in July during our $50k to Cancer Twitter Campaign when she mobilized her twitter community to follow @canceralliance on the 3rd anniversary of her mother’s passing from cancer. Noora’s work created the social buzz that led to us raising over $21,000 for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
Noora is the perfect example of how one individual can truly make a difference when they dedicate themselves to a cause. We are so proud to have Noora as a part of our community, and it’s our honor to share her story with you.
- Has cancer affected you in some way? If so, how? Tell us about your experience.
I think it’s safe to say that cancer has affected everyone in some way, shape or form! It’s the truth and it’s a sad truth.
I was 16 when I visited my uncle Jessie in Nashville, TN. He was diagnosed with Leukemia and making a slow recovery when one day something went terribly wrong. On December 7th, 2005 at around 1:24 pm we got the phone call that he had passed away. I didn’t really know what it was like to lose someone in the family, especially someone who was so close to us. He and my mom were best friends. After he passed, my mom wasn’t the same.
A few years passed and I was working at a restaurant part-time. My mom had just returned from a trip overseas visiting family. She came home and her breast was inflamed and very red. I didn’t think much of it; just assumed she had been bitten by something.
During a busy lunch rush I received a phone call nobody should have to receive. It was my mother telling me she had breast cancer. Inflammatory was the name of it. I lost it at that point. I didn’t know what that meant! Was she going to die? Who was going to take care of us? Why her? Why us? I felt as if we were being punished. All these emotions were running through my head. I remember being angry and in denial. My mom on the other hand, had the best attitude! She knew we all would come together and beat this!
Unfortunately it took my mother way too soon. I remember sitting in the hospital room on my 19th birthday, May 22, 2007, listening to the doctor ask my Mom where she wanted to die– at home or at the hospital. No one at 19 should have to sit through that. Nobody should have go experience what I did. I didn’t even know what palliative care was and that it even existed! I would give anything for one last hug!
- How has this shaped you as the person you are today?
In a weird way this experience has made me grow up. I’ve matured in a way that I didn’t think was possible. Not for a 22 year-old anyhow. It’s made me stronger. It’s made me more motherly towards my family and others around me. It feels good but I never imagined I would have to grow up this fast.
- What are the two biggest things you learned through this experience?
I’ve learned that time goes by so fast! It’s been 3 years since my mother’s passing and it feels like yesterday when I was taking her to chemotherapy and doctor appointments.
I also realized how short life really is. Travel, regardless of how much it costs! Do something! You honestly don’t know when you or someone you love is going to go. You need to grasp them and cherish those people and the time you have with them. We’re not here for a long time; We’re here for a good time!
- If you could say one thing to the world about cancer, what would it be?
Live your life to the fullest. Be grateful for everything and remember that whatever you’re going through, someone else is going through worse. If I could say something to the caregivers and people affected by this disease, honestly say your goodbyes if it’s time. Talk everything out and don’t wait. Even though we are sad and angry at losing a loved one, remember you’re getting a chance to say goodbye. Think of the people who lose their lives in accidents that don’t get that chance. Take advantage of that. To the cancer patients, don’t stop fighting. Keep faith and believe you’ll be okay. To the people in remission, God bless you with health and happiness.
- Is there anything else you would like to say to the MCA audience?
Don’t stop supporting the MCA! Without you all, we couldn’t raise awareness! Remember, if you need anything, just message them! They inspired me to be great and I’m thankful for that! I would love to continue working with MCA!