Words cannot describe the outpouring of support that I received since my diagnosis of head and neck cancer this past June. The prayers, the cards, the phone calls, the meals, and the monetary gifts helped me approach my treatment one day at a time.
I have experienced many emotions throughout the healing process, but the most prominent is being humbled. I've always tried to follow the examples set by my parents and to do for others when I could. It has been a difficult transition to be on the receiving end of such thoughtful gestures.
Most people never get to realize the impact they've had on the lives of others. The last five months have revealed a truth, a wave, a beep of the horn, a whistle, or a quick hello does make a difference. Our lives are so fast-paced that we don't take the time to appreciate what we do have. Simple acts of kindness, free and easy, then to be forgotten as we hurry on our way.
Saturday, Nov. 10, I expected to attend a Celtic concert with my grandson, daughter, and son-in-law at Jim Thorpe Memorial Hall. The parking lot was packed and I was excited about the large turnout. I didn't expect that the crowd was waiting my arrival. It wasn't until the DJ played Buddy Holly's "Peggy Sue" that I understood the gathering was for me. I was completely overwhelmed and yet I felt a surge of energy. The tiredness and trouble speaking melted away. Family, friends, co-workers, and complete strangers got together to let me know how much I meant to them. All of this love was more effective than any medicine I'd taken during treatment.
How can I say thank you to the thousands of people everywhere who have supported me throughout my illness? Initially I tried sending individual cards but I can no longer keep up with that. I decided to send a very big public "thank you" to everyone who made the Chinese Auction/Benefit a huge success. Thank you to everyone who donated an item for the auction, bought food for the bake and food sale, gave a monetary donation, and bought tickets. Thank you to my co-workers and those who organized the event. Thank you to the doctors and nurses who've taken care of my medical needs. Thank you for the prayers from all denominations. Thank you to those who have been with me every step of the way in this difficult journey. As I begin to venture out into the public, I will try to thank each of you personally.
I think God was sending me a message through my illness. Saturday evening reminded me that there is hope for humanity. Kindness does make a difference. Prayers are the best medicine. God only gives us what we can handle.
The motto of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, of which I am a member, is Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity. To all of my supporters, please know there is a little "Irish" in every one of you.
Thank you again,
Peggy Sue O'Donnell
Jim Thorpe, Pa.