I’m Olivia Clarke and I’m a cancer survivor.
I almost knock on wood every time I say those words because I'm always afraid my cancer will visit my doorstep again. I experience moments where I feel like a rock star and moments where I wonder if every new ache or bump is a sign of cancer coming back.
There have been moments during this entire cancer business when I couldn't help at laugh at the crazy questions I'm answering and how in-depth I get about my breasts (I had breast cancer). I have chuckled when some medical staff folks forget that I'm not their great aunt or their grandma with cancer. I am working and now dating. And, I'm trying to be a good aunt, sister, daughter and friend to those around me. Life keeps on going regardless of what disease I'm battling.
Cancer story in a nutshell: In 2015, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After undergoing chemotherapy, a mastectomy, radiation and several reconstruction surgeries I have been cancer-free. When going through treatment, I learned the importance of finding little ways to experience joy and laughter. I also realized that being a cancer patient under age 40 brought unique perspective and challenges, but there weren't a lot of avenues for this group to bond and share stories. That's why this online community was created.
My back story: My day job is as a public relations senior specialist for a global law firm where I handle media relations and communications for the lawyers I work with and for.
I worked as a reporter and editor for 13 years and the best part of that profession was learning and sharing people's stories. I learned nothing is black and white. We really operate in the gray and the best thing we can do is empathize with our neighbors.
After dealing with cancer I realized I had not left a positive enough impact on people's lives. I took my volunteering up to a new level and raised money and awareness through social media and communications for a school and food pantry on the South Side of Chicago. It fed my soul and I hopefully made a positive impact on this community. But I needed to create this nonprofit organization to give back and help bring all the different parts of me together -- the journalist, the communicator, the volunteer and the cancer survivor.
I hope you enjoy Humor Beats Cancer.