I just finished reading a book for the second time — Life’s That Way by Jim Beaver. It’s a personal journal that Jim kept when he found out his wife Cecily had lung cancer. I bought the book because I speak on the topic of grief and coping skills for grief, and thought this book might give me some more insight into how people cope when life is suddenly turned upside down. The book is great, but not as great as actually speaking one-on-one with what I like to call life’s everyday heroes — those people in the trenches fighting daily battles of brokenness, loss, undeserved devastation — who never get a book written about them and who never really get much recognition at all.
And, so it is that I want to tell you about my friends, Mike and Darcel Fahy.
I’ve known Mike since he was little kid. He graduated in my daughter Mandy’s class from a small hometown high school in Shanksville where everybody knows everybody. After graduation I didn’t hear much about Mike until one day I saw him wandering the halls of the building where I work. He was applying for a job and I promised I’d put in a good word for him. Seeing Mike that day was a reminder that he had grown up, and I had grown old! Life moves on quickly!
Mike got the job, and he often visited my office sharing stories and photos of falling in love with Darcel, their wedding, buying his new truck, and then buying their first home. He and Darcel are one of those couples that you love to be around — full of fun and laughter and lots of energy!
On June 29, 201o no longer were Mike and Darcel living lives as regular people, in a quiet little town, going through the normal carefree activities of everyday life. Suddenly, and without warning, they were thrust into the battlefield called CANCER and this young couple now has joined the ranks of those people I call my everyday heroes!
Darcel, at the young age of 25, was told by her doctor that she has stage 3 ovarian cancer. She went to the hospital for a procedure to rid her of endometriosis so that she could get pregnant. When she left the hospital a few days later Darcel had undergone a hysterectomy, had a temporary colostomy, and understood that she would be facing several weeks of chemo, other surgeries, not to mention all of the many changes in daily routine that would now become part of Mike and Darcel’s new life on the battlefield.
Most of us would have left that hospital broken in spirit and depleted of all hope. Not Darcel! Not Mike! Darcel looked her doctor straight into his eyes and said with complete confidence, “I won’t let this beat me”, and that has been her battle cry every day since!
Rather than focus their attention inward, Mike and Darcel have taken this ovarian cancer and together they are touching the lives of thousands of others. Just days after Darcel got home from the hospital, Mike and a friend created the website http://www.wontletthisbeatme.com/ and Darcel is making it her goal to educate as many women, young and old, about the insidious symptoms of ovarian cancer. Darcel is a young woman with a passion and purpose. She is determined to fight this battle and be a winner! She is working hard each day to get word out about ovarian cancer. Who knew that this cancer could strike a woman at such a young age? Thanks to Darcel’s efforts, thousands of young women are learning about the symptoms of ovarian cancer.
Dignity. Grace. Passion. Selflessness. Determination. Those are the words that best describe Mike and Darcel. No, they may never make national headlines in a newspaper or have a book on the National Bestsellers List. They don’t drive a splashy car or live in a luxorious house. They’re not worldwide travelers or among the world’s top 100 wealthiest people. But, they are heroes! They are heroes not only to me, but to the thousands of others who are touched by their story of courage, determination, and unwavering faith. They are fighting a war, and they will win!
To get to know more about Darcel’s cancer journey and to join in on doing your part to help find new ways of early detection of ovarian cancer, please visit Darcel at http://www.wontletthisbeatme.com/ . Read her blog. Leave her a note and let her know that you have joined her in this battle. Buy a t-shirt and a wrist band and wear it with pride as you help Darcel in this undertaking she has taken on with such passion and pride!
Darcel and Mike, you are my heroes, and you are an amazing inspiration! May God graciously continue to bless you and your selfless efforts!