Spring Brings Memories

By Jamie Valvano


March Madness has come and gone, but the image of my Dad running out on the court desperately searching for someone to hug lingers.  On March 10th, my Dad would have turned 70 years old.  I close my eyes and create a nonexistent memory of him holding one of his grandchildren.  His black hair would be mixed with strands of grey, but I am certain his silly grin would be the same.  The desire to see him alive and hear his hoarse voice utter a witty comeback overwhelms.  I place the 30 for 30 ESPN special in the DVD player and relive the magic.

Cancer has profoundly affected thousands of families.  Even in survival, there are scars that remain.  In the difficult moments, I call upon another vision.  The image of Jim Valvano standing on a stage, in front of a podium, pouring out his indomitable spirit gives me strength.  The loss I have suffered is shadowed by his powerful legacy and the lifesaving work that continues.  People often ask me what he would think about the organization that bears his name.  No doubt he would be deeply grateful, beyond proud, and then delivered a locker room pep talk pushing us to work even harder.

As the first signs of Spring enter forth into the bright sunlight, I feel life all around me.  I wipe away the quiet tears and take him into the day.  I am a 10 year cancer survivor, and I will continue to share my story.  Today, I cherish my role as a mom.  My boys are waiting on the pollen covered trampoline and our laughter abounds.