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Grant Winner: Hannah Finch

I am Hannah Finch, age 32 and from Michigan, with stage 3 low grade serous ovarian carcinoma. I randomly stumbled upon the Humor Beats Cancer Instagram page and as we all know, cancer is very expensive and I could always use some help!

When I think of the good stories I have from this journey, one thing that is consistent is kids. I don’t have any children but I am at the age where most of my friends have them and I am around them often. I am very close to these kids and they see me regularly. The funniest part of cancer to me is seeing the children’s reactions to it. They never cease to find humor in difficult things, and they really help me to find some joy in all of it.

I had a partial hysterectomy in August 2021. When I was feeling well enough to leave the house, I went over to my friend Jenna’s house to visit her and her 5-year-old, Kinsley. Jenna had told her I was having surgery and she was requesting daily updates on how I was doing.

When I came over, Kinsley was instantly concerned with how I was feeling and became my caregiver for the time I was over. She was asking questions about my surgery, and I told her about the very large incision that I had down the middle of my abdomen. She got very excited when talking about my incision and she wanted to look at it. It was only a few weeks old at that point and still had the glue and stitches holding it together so it wasn’t looking great. I pulled up my shirt so she could see it and at first, she was surprised. She looked at it very inquisitively and studied it for a minute before her face lit up. She had a big smile and yelled “it’s purple! I LOVE purple, its my favorite color!!” and proceeded to play nurse for the rest of my visit.

I love that she didn’t find it scary or worry about me, her focus was on the good part of it and to her, the best part was that it was purple. That moment made me laugh harder than I probably should have with my incision. I went through six treatments of chemo last year from December 2021 to April 2022 and I lost my hair. I have always had very long, thick hair my whole life so it was a big change going from one extreme to the other.

Over the summer 2022, I went to a baby shower where I saw a few of my friends and their kids that had not seen my bald head yet. Naturally, the kids were very curious about what happened to Aunt Hannah’s hair and they were not afraid to ask.

The most inquisitive was Henry, who is about 3. He runs up to me and yells loudly: “Where’d your hair go?” and I explained to him that I am sick and I had to take medicine that made my hair fall out. He instantly grabs his hair with wide eyes and I frantically try to explain that normal medicine won’t do that to you! He then looks at me with full confident, big smile and says “So you’re a boy now?” All of my friends and I start laughing while I try to begin telling him that girls can have short hair too. He looked puzzled but brushed it off and ran off to play.

Flash forward, my friend took him to the doctor a few months ago and Henry demanded that the doctor confirm any medicine he takes won't turn him into a girl because something like this happened to Aunt Hannah! We laughed so hard about this story and it has become one of my favorite cancer memories. Even though I won’t have kids of my own, I am grateful for the ones that surround me and continue to give me new perspectives on how to look at the world a little bit differently.

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