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Where there’s life there’s hope

Now that the festive season is over and I don’t have to endure another morose Christmas carol for at least another year, I can finally concentrate on what really matters…real life, which let’s face it, sometimes can be a real b**ch.

A bit over a year ago I found out that a friend of mine had been diagnosed with breast cancer. As you can imagine this wasn’t the first time I heard such bad news about someone I knew, but this time it was different because it was about a friend who was my age, someone whom I knew led a healthy lifestyle, and someone who had two young children who depended on her.

All this, together with the news that it was a triple negative type of cancer hit me like a punch in the gut which needless to say, I found hard to deal with.

“Nirvana, is the epitome of youth and health,” I told myself, “they must have got it wrong,” I argued, “you’ll see” I told others, “tomorrow we’ll find out that it was all a mistake.”

Eventually, when no such news came along, I convinced myself that Nirvana will fight it, and that she’ll be all right. “She’s strong,” I argued, “medicine has come a long way, they can fix this, you’ll see,”  I consoled myself.

Then, as months went by, Nirvana became my hero, and I, well, I turned into a complete and utter coward.

I thought of her every time I was about to make a fuss about a paper cut or about having the sniffles, I thought of her whilst I was having fun on the beach, and my heart went out to her whenever I saw mothers with their young children. I thought and thought and wished her well, but I also feared meeting her and only spoke to her over the phone and online.

I promised I’d visit her, but I could never get myself to do it. When she needed something, I delivered it to her house, but on some level I was glad she didn’t come to the door. When I saw that her three year old son seemed oblivious of his mother’s condition I once again convinced myself that the situation was not so bad. 

So whilst my brave and beautiful friend was busy fighting for her life, whilst she was busy smiling through the pain and hiding her predicament from her kids, whilst she was painstakingly going through atrocious cycles of chemo, whilst she was having invasive surgery and distressing recoveries, I stayed away scared of opening up my heart to the pain of losing her. 

Whilst she was trying holistic therapies, meditating, and praying for the love of God to spare her children from the pain of growing up without a mother, whilst she grinned and threw the kitchen sink at this abhorring disease, I stayed away, I hid, I ran, and convinced myself she will be all right.

But despite her efforts, despite her resolve, she is now running out of time and options, and yet, she is still fighting with all her might.

Despite the gloomy picture that traditional medicine painted for her, there now seems to be a ray of hope in some new treatments abroad, and true to her character, never having been one to give up without a damn good fight, Nirvana will be going for them. 

These treatments have been researched but are not widely available. However they could very well mean the difference between life and death, they could mean that Nirvana’s children won’t have to grow up without a mother!

Maybe it was the hype of the New Year, or maybe it was Nirvana’s courage to speak out and to go public about her situation, but I have finally plucked up courage to visit her. I will also be attending a walk that is being organised by family and friends to show their spiritual and financial support for such a courageous lady - a lady who has always danced like there’s nobody watching, loved like she’s never been hurt, and sung like nobody’s listening.

You too can do your bit by joining us on Sunday, January 13. The walk for Nirvana Azzopardi will start from the Love Monument in Spinola Bay at 9.30am. 

For more information about this event and how you too can offer your support, visit the Facebook Event page here - https://www.facebook.com/events/144058145746767/ .

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