DonnaBellas Angels received an email from Regan, a cervical cancer survivor. She shared what it meant to her to receive a cancer angel art print. She gave permission to share her story from her email.
"Hello From Kansas!
My name is Regan. I am a cancer survivor. You cannot know how much your art print meant to me. I would like to share a little of my story with you.
I was first diagnosed with cervical cancer at 17. The doctor told my mother that he was not surprised because of our family's terrible history. Both my mother and great grandmother had this same type of cancer and both had hysterectomies by the time they were in their late 20's. They got rid of the cancer cells and said I should have children early if I could at all. To me? This was so devastating. Since I had been a tiny girl my whole goal in life was not to be a doctor, lawyer, astronaut, or policeman. I wanted to be a mommy.
I had my first son Brendan at 20, & Tristan was at 21. They are 15 months apart. Three years later I had my beautiful baby girl Molleigh. I figured my life was complete and thanked God for my beautiful children.
At a checkup months later I remember sitting in the doctor's office waiting for what I thought was a scheduling of my hysterectomy. The doctor had the nurse take us to his office, which was unusual. No one leaves the exam room and goes to the office. What was this? So instead of scheduling as I had first assumed, he sat down with my mother and I. He said the words that still to this day make me sick to my stomach.
"The cancer is back, and it’s much worse. You are pregnant." All of our preventive measures had apparently not worked. As I sat there I can vaguely remember him saying that he had never recommended an abortion but was doing so today. I had 3 beautiful kids and they needed a mommy. We left his office and I was numb. What should I do? I didn't believe in that procedure. How could I even think about doing that? This was a life inside of me! We told no one and I began to pray. I had a week or two before I was to make this decision. There was never any decision to make. I gave it to God and announced to the world that I was pregnant.
I will not lie. It was terrifying. By the time we got to the end of my pregnancy I was very ill and so worried for my kids and the child within. How was this going to happen? We had a miracle. At 6-7 months along the cancer that had invaded my uterus had stopped growing. Would my child even survive as the cancer was taking up all the room?
November 6th, 2001. We began the labor but got into serious trouble. My sister’s face is something I will never forget. I was dying and everyone in that room knew it. I had played roulette and lost. As they wheeled me in for the emergency c-section I remember telling my sister to love them all as I would and help them to remember me and grow strong to love God and life. To tell them about me. That I loved them more than anything in this life. I went into shock on the table and that was the last I remember until November 9th.
My beautiful son Ryan James Martin McCormack was born that day. I had no idea I had died twice on the table. I had no idea that my nurses wouldn't leave the hospital, afraid that this young mother would not be there when they returned. I was in and out of surgery twice between the 6th and the 9th. I bled out all of the blood in my body twice over and they had replaced it over and over and over. A nightmare to be sure!
I do not remember much between November of 2001 until March of 2002; however, my own personal angels were there when I awoke and when I went to sleep. My mother and my sister took care of my 4 children and me constantly. I know my dad and husband were there, but vaguely. Every time I opened my eyes I saw my angel sister or mother. WITHOUT FAIL they were there.
The doctors were all shocked that my son had survived. You see my uterus was full of tumors. He should have had no room to grow. Gods loving hand had wrapped him up and protected him.
He will be 10 this year. Molleigh is 11, Tristan is 14 and Brendan is 15. I am 35. Every November is not a reminder of his birthday as much as it is a reminder what CANCER CANNOT DO.
Cancer cannot steal my faith.
Cancer cannot steal my love.
Cancer cannot steal my hope.
Cancer cannot steal my son.
Cancer cannot take my life.
Cancer cannot kill my spirit.
Cancer WILL NOT take a mother from her children.
Cancer cannot win.
I relay for my sister. Who would not let me go.
I relay for my mother. Who prays more than anyone I know.
I relay for my Daughter, so she will not ever have to go through this.
I relay for my nieces, so that this legacy will not pass on to them.
I relay for me.
I am a miracle, and so is my son.
Several weeks ago my mother had checked my mail for me and my sister Tara and I met up with her. She handed it to me and I opened it. As I read it I began to cry, as did my sister. You cannot know how much the beautiful picture meant to me. I sat there in the car with her and remembered those dark days. I wished I had had this then. I will do everything I can to make sure that every survivor gets one of these!
Thank you so much from my family to yours.
Mother of 4
Submitted May 2011
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Regan’s mom, Pam, had requested that the “Colorful Cancer Angel Print” be sent to her. Pam also shared the moment her daughter received the print:
“I recently had you send one of the What Cancer Cannot Do prints to my daughter. Needless to say when I took her her mail that day she was sitting in a car next to her sister. They both started crying, one the survivor the other the caregiver. She was touched beyond words with this print. I thank you from the bottom of my heart that you shared this gift so that I could share with her.”
Art prints are provided at to the community as part of our mission to provide inspirational healing art to those coping with a chronic or terminal illness. Currently, our fundraising is supports providing these art prints at no cost to the community and your donations help make that possible. DonnaBellas Angels is a 501(c)3 non-profit and donations are tax deductible.
“Medicine heals the Body, Art heals the Soul”
-DonnaBellas Angels Motto