Thrivers and MVPs: The Fennell’s Motivated Commitment

Cancer Thrivers Luke and Beth Fennell Saw the Importance of Cancer Research, Becoming V Foundation MVPs!

In July, Luke Fennel was watching television when ‘The Speech’ came on.

The documentary, created by ESPN, focused on Jim Valvano’s legendary 1993 ESPYS speech. It honored the 30-year anniversary of the speech, and the V Foundation, featuring notable members of the sports community and Jim’s family.

For Luke, Jim’s rallying cry from the speech stood out more than usual: “Don’t Give Up . . . Don’t Ever Give Up!”®

Just a year ago, Luke’s wife Beth was undergoing intensive chemotherapy for triple negative breast cancer. As her caregiver, he saw the pain and suffering she went through during treatment.

Luke, who is also a cancer survivor, and Beth chose to be V Foundation MVPs, monthly donors faithfully committed to funding cancer research.

They, like many who have faced cancer, saw the drastic need for better treatment options and less harsh treatments. Although the need for more research is evident, they were thankful for the V Foundation’s mission of supporting “the research and development which arms our doctors and nurses with the tools to heal us and extend our lives.”

During Beth’s battle, she had a lot of time to think. After her treatment regimen, Beth shared some of her reflections with the V Foundation:

Be who they believe you to be.

Some say that I showed positivity, courage, determination, and even humor. I’m not sure that I was any more of those things than the millions of women who have travelled the same journey.

What I experienced was the overwhelming support and encouragement from family and friends. I was overwhelmed by the number of cards, calls, meals, texts, and visits from family and friends. This was my leverage to dwell in hope and conviction that I would get well. My daughter decorated my room with photos of my beloved granddaughters and other family members along with tens of butterflies and white lights. I posted each of the nearly 100 cards on my bedroom wall and read them over and over again as I walked past several times a day.

When a friend wrote to say how much they believe in my spirit, determination, strength and positivity, I was motivated to “live into” these qualities. My family and friends filled me with the motivation to be who they thought me to be.

Find your spiritual being and hug it close.

A good friend gave me guided imagery cds. One in particular, I listened to over and over again.

For me it was an effective way to move from my physical self to my spiritual self. One image I conjured up maybe a hundred times was that of a circle of my loved ones both living and deceased – my team. This included family and friends. The image of my team standing before me cheering me on filled me calm and the reassurance that whatever the outcome, I was loved and safe. On my last day of chemo, my husband and dear friend organized a welcome home gathering in front of our house. A crowd of friends holding signs and balloons. It was as if my imagery had come alive. I cry with joy every time I reflect on that day, both because the dreaded treatment was completed and because my faith in my team was realized.

Share resources, tips, stories with others.

A dear friend began breast cancer treatment about the time mine was coming to an end. I was able to share many experiences and learnings with her. I felt in some ways she did not have to start from square one. We are now planning to write a blog followed by a book to fill in the blanks and help other breast cancer patients avoid pitfalls as well as have a way to tell their stories. Storytelling is an ageless and proven strategy for moving toward wellness.

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