June is National Cancer Survivor Month, and that hits close to home for many in The Firm’s Family. For the month of June we are running a Stand Firm Against Cancer campaign, raising money for several non profits who work in the fight against cancer. Our very own Dee Burton has been the person behind this campaign, and her experience with losing her dad to cancer. Read about her journey with her dad below. If you are interested in learning more about this campaign, and when you can attend classes that will be donated to specific non profits, click here.
1/Can you tell us a little about yourself, and your relationship with your dad?
-If you knew me, you knew my dad. He was my biggest fan, & I was his. We were the best of buddies. He gave me a world people dream about & I still feel like the luckiest daughter in the world. My dad taught me many, many things, but the most important lesson of all was to always have a “good name”. He always encouraged me to live a life of integrity & that family is the most important asset.
2/ What type of cancer was your dad diagnosed with and when was he diagnosed?
-My dad was diagnosed with Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma in March of 2008. He was treated pre-operatively with chemotherapy & radiation, & then in October had the Whipple procedure.
We lived scan to scan for the next 4 years & then discovered it had spread to his lungs. He died in May of 2012 on his 77th birthday.
3/ Obviously, cancer puts your whole life on hold. Do you remember a specific moment when you were hit by this realization?
-We had done our research & knew the statistics. It hit me right away & realized my life had forever changed. I chose to spend as much time with him as I could, traveling, boating, laughing, crying, & listening. I was one of the lucky ones who had time to say goodbye. Before he died, my husband had asked his permission to marry & he gave us his blessing. My life became complete.
He was my rock & my foundation & to this day, I try and make him proud💜.
4/ What helped keep your spirits up and gave you support during this period?
-I wish I could say my spirits always stayed high, however those years were a rollercoaster for me. I just had to ride it out. Friends & family were my biggest source of support & comfort.
My one outlet was teaching- it allowed me to forget about my sadness & help others:).
5/ As someone who has been through what you have, what would you say to members of our community going through a cancer diagnosis personally, or one of a loved one?
-My best advice to anyone going through any cancer diagnosis is to be your own advocate. Do your research, ask questions & learn as much as you can-because there is hope out there!
Most importantly, spend time together with everyone that is important to you. In the end, all we have is each other.🌺
We love you Dee! Thank you for sharing your story!