For so many of us life is a race with a pretty predictable course, or at least sense of the destination. Despite the intensity of the journey, it seems there is comfort in knowing where we are headed- that is until we suddenly are not so sure.
At the age of 33, Karen Carter had it all; a family, a profession, a sense of where she was and where she was going. In 2004 her course was abruptly and immeasurably changed when her daughter, Caroline, was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma, a rare cancer that is most typical in children.
For the next three years Karen led her daughter and family through the rigors of Caroline's aggressive treatment protocols. Despite the the very best of efforts, Caroline passed away three months before her 8th birthday.
This life-altering event led Karen to the role of Campaign Manager for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She also serves on the board of the Dragonfly Foundation, a group which provides support for families dealing with the challenges of childhood cancer. Karen is an inspiration; she has overcome adversity and has taken steps to make a difference even though in her heart, surely it cannot replace her losses. Our hearts go out to any parent who has lost a child- it is not supposed to happen.
The fact that one can overcome adversity such as this and make such a difference is a lesson for us all. If you choose that it be this way, adversity is a speed bump, not a train wreck. How many times have you been faced with a challenge, struggled but not overcome it and then been swept into a place of diminished self-esteem and enthusiasm? At some time or another it is likely we all have experienced this. And there is no question that each of us will reconcile things such as this in our own way. This does not change the fact that possibility requires action; anything is possible but it takes action to bring that to fruition.
None of us would ever want to experience the pain and sorrow that Karen and her family have endured; hopefully few of us ever will. But when our challenges seem to be insurmountable and the thought of giving up is being entertained, take stock of the courage and passion this woman and her family have displayed.
It takes courage and significant
effort to pick ourselves up and move forward following a time of adversity or
failure. Sometimes moving forward will bring us to an altogether different
destination than we had envisioned. Just because we figure we know where we are
headed, it's not such a bad idea to leave our options open. You never know what
lies around the next curve. But one thing is for sure, whatever it may be it
does not have to stop us.