Recipient

Annie W.

Illinois, United States

Finding Myself from Three to Me

My story begins 53 years ago when I met the two people who would become my best friends. Growing up, my mom and sister were my two biggest supporters of my sporting endeavors, often traveling 7.5 hours to watch me play college basketball. As adults, we became the three amigos; going on vacations, retreats, and hanging out together. When my sister was diagnosed at 32 with breast cancer, I did whatever I could to be there and support her. She was my hero. She battled bravely for 20 years and 8 reoccurrences. In 2014, my mom was also diagnosed with breast cancer. I moved her in with me and the three of us faced the battles together. In 2016, my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and my sister succumbed to her 20 year battle. For the next 3 years, I became my mom’s caregiver and learned so much about her, as well as myself. Becoming a caregiver to the two most important people in my life wasn’t something I consciously chose I just did what needed to be done. My mom lost her battle in August 2019. After 23 years of being a caregiver, I’m not sure who I am anymore. In the 6 months since my mom’s passing, I have battled daily with the sadness of losing her. I fight each day against the guilt that perhaps I could have or should have done more. I’m looking to find new meaning and new direction and I feel one step toward this would be to take control of my health. I want to comeback not only for myself, but for my remaining family. I need to make this comeback and start living again. I owe it to myself, and to the memory of my mom and sister. Thank you for your consideration.

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