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Grant Winner: Sarah Ammerman

Updated: 2 days ago

Sarah, 44, is from New York and has faced breast cancer and two endometrial cancers. She said about the grant: "Everyone who enters is just as worthy as I am. But I will tell you what this grant money would do for me. Thanks to cancer I spend a lot of time in physical therapy, at the chiropractor and more recently at craniosacral appointments to deal with my chronic pain. All of these modalities are helpful and expensive. The grant money would go a long way in paying for some of these visits which are currently not covered by my insurance."


After being diagnosed with cancers two and three, which were simultaneous primaries, I was told I would have to go through chemo, again. Being somewhat of a cancer professional at this point, I knew I had to wear comfortable clothing for chemo days, including tops that provided easy access to my chest port. I also knew that I had to pack a bag for chemo days that included food and drinks, my phone charger, and some items to distract me during those long and tedious days in the infusion room.


For my second treatment, I made sure to pack myself plenty of water and a simple, easy to eat lunch. When I opened up my bag to eat I realized I had packed one of my Dia de los Muertos napkins. If you’re unfamiliar with Dia de los Muertos, it is a Latin American holiday that celebrates life and death. One of the traditions is to mark the holiday with images of colorful skeletons and skulls.


So picture me sitting in the oncology recliner, with an IV attached to my chest, a little beanie covering my now bald head, and munching on my lunch with a large napkin covered in brightly colored skulls on my lap!


I started cracking up immediately. I took a picture and texted it to a friend who got a good laugh out of it as well. I don’t think any of my fellow patients noticed. I wasn’t sure if they would find the same humor in it so I just kept eating my lunch and giggling to myself.


Moments of levity can be rare during cancer treatment, so you have to find a reason to smile wherever you can. I’m definitely going to try to find those napkins again this year, and whenever I use one I know it’ll make me think of how a little moment of lightness brought a much needed chuckle during a dark day.

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