Gifts from cancer

Today, on Christmas Eve, many families will be gathering to exchange gifts and spend time together. Many cancer survivors say that their cancer journey has already given them gifts greater than any present they could receive on a holiday. Cancer isn't a gift by any means, but the experience of overcoming adversity - of gaining new perspective- is something that is priceless.

The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance interviewed cancer patients and survivors to ask them what their cancer journey gave them.

"Going through cancer was such a gift. It gave me the gift of faith and a new relationship with God. It also gave me the push to leave the 9-5 grind andstart my own business so I can be the best wife and Mom I can be-- helping other Moms who want to be home with their families enjoying life, while still having successful in-home businesses and contributing financially to their families."

-Clare Luffman, a 6 year breast cancer survivor.

"Cancer gave me the unique opportunity while I'm still here on earth, to feel the love and support of family, friends, caregivers and total strangers. Ithas allowed me to do creative things I never knew I had inside of me: write books, design cartoons, start my own business (The Cancer Club), and travel the world speaking to other cancer patients about finding hope and humor in their experience. Cancer renewed my faith and reminded me that it's better to give than to receive. It has brought joy and laughter into my life on a daily basis, and connected me to hundreds of thousands of people. If my guardian angel landed on my shoulder today and told me I could go back and change three things in my life, my cancer experience would not be one of them."

-Christine Clifford, 20 year cancer survivor.

"There are many gifts that came as a result of my cancer. First, my faith has been strengthened. I am more humble and less worried about my appearance (my cancer destroyed the left side of my face and I underwent many surgeries along with reconstruction), I have a much greater perspective on what is important in my life (family, friends, faith) and I have not stopped fulfilling my dreams in order to live my life to the fullest."

-Meredith McNerney, a Merkel Cell Carcinoma survivor and founder of A Message of Hope Cancer Fund.

"I'd say that while it was the worst thing to ever happen to me physically, it was the best thing to ever happen to me spiritually. I felt peaceful and happy much of the time during my treatments (surgeries, chemo, radiation and immunotherapy), and I can only describe that state as a gift. I am different now because I know that I will trust God with my life and the lives of those I might leave behind. My faith has been tested, and it is stronger. I don't have to question whether I will stand up to the test any more."

-Hope Murtaugh, 10 year breast cancer survivor.

"Having a heart full of gratitude means there is little room in my heart for resentment, for disappointment, for sorrow. Expressing gratitude is a gift I give others, but as much a gift for myself. It means days filled with serenity, knowing that whatever disappointments there are, it could be so much worse. I am so grateful for the gift of gratitude that cancer gave me."

-Evelyn McKnight, 12 year breast cancer survivor.

Today, whether you are a patient, survivor, or loved one, share with our community what cancer has given you.