HOPE. To me it stands for How Ordinary People Endure.
This meaning is intangible. It is not often easy to grasp. It seems ethereal. As humans, we often need something tangible to feel, touch and experience to know that it is real.
While my message and story lives on through my book – Powered By Hope – and my foundation through speaking engagements, I wanted to take this a step further and make my message of HOPE personal and yes, real. I was determined to finding a way to really impact the lives of those around me who are, who like myself, are fighting the biggest battle of our lives against Cancer.
After much searching and self-reflection, it was so simple and clear. I used my own personal experience of training for my triathlons and receiving a medal at the end of the journey as a symbol of hope to share with for others.
I came up with a Medal of Hope and which led to a Coin of Courage. I believe in spreading HOPE to everyone who is dealing with Cancer. I knew that this would be rewarding, a privilege and very humbling; however I did not realize that something magical would happen to those who receive it and those presenting it.
Laura, a friend of Teri’s recalls the moment of a Medal of Hope presentation:
Teri and 10 of her close lady friends, who albeit are also cancer thrivers, surprised their dear friend Inga at her 82nd chemo treatment at a local treatment center (which also happened to land on her 40th birthday). Teri walked up to Inga and surprised her with the entire group of friends – “we are all here for you, we know what you are going through and you are not alone.”
Teri got down on her knees, held the Medal of Hope in her hands while presenting it to Inga on her lap; all the while, Inga in a recliner – hooked up to and receiving her IV chemo treatment.
Teri softly whispers to her – “a symbol of hope and a reminder of your inner strength and personal resolve. You are never alone – may you always be Powered By Hope.”
To watch this take place is simply chilling; goose bumps are an understatement. There is not a dry eye in the group – as we all know, without saying, the impact of HOPE.
While Inga receives the Medal of Hope placed around her neck by Teri, the Coin of Courage is then passed by hand, one-by-one, around the circle of friends that envelop her, wishing her blessed thoughts, warm vibes and good health into the Coin. The Coin then ends in Inga’s hands – receiving a Medal of Hope for her race with Cancer and Coin of Courage to hold onto forever.
This is magic. The goose bumps. The overwhelming sense of being alive. The sense of being part of a cancer community. The knowing that you are not alone. The true feeling, both intangible and now tangible feeling, of Hope received.
Inga is just one of the many amazing individuals that I have been fortunate and blessed to be introduced to, meet and present Medals of Hope and Coins of Courage to and like Inga, is or has become dear friends as well.
Since creating the Medal of Hope and Coin of Courage about one year ago, it has been my journey to continue to spread that HOPE every week to someone who is fighting for their lives in the St. Louis area. Fortunately, and unfortunately though, it has gotten to be such a demand, that I have created the PBH ambassadors to present HOPE on behalf of the foundation. Together, we can spread even more HOPE and share that feeling of magic that only HOPE can bring to a fellow cancer thriver.