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Lauren Vance

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013709.jpgCo-survivor: Lauren Vance
Survivor: Her mother, Anne Masters


I remember the last time I attended the Race for the Cure. I woke up late, decided at the last minute I really needed to shave my legs, and then couldn't find my tennis shoes. Of course, this made Mom and me late. We argued most of the ride there, couldn't find a parking place, and ultimately missed the group picture because we couldn't locate our group through the mass crowd.

It was early, already sweltering hot, and to be honest, I would rather have been in bed sleeping. I felt guilty for putting us behind schedule, Mom was clearly disappointed we missed the group photo, and I'm fairly sure I was sweating out tequila from my birthday party the night before. I did not want to be here. Just when I thought I was going to die from the smell of sun block and Cuervo®, I witnessed something intended for my eyes only.

I watched Mom put on her pink survivor baseball cap. That magical pink cap completely changed everything. As she placed it on top of her short hair, I noticed her posture straighten as she swelled with pride. She looked up at the sky as if she was looking God directly in the face and smiled.

In that very moment, everything stopped. I couldn't hear the noisy crowds that surrounded us; there was no one around but her. All I wanted to do was drop to my knees and thank God for giving me this moment. I remembered the nights I could hear her crying to make "it" stop, the late night trips to the ER, the seizures, the physical pain the cancer caused her. I would scream into my pillow and beg God to please not take her. She was my mother and my father. She was all I had and I couldn't function without her.

That moment was proof. He heard my selfish cries to not take her away just yet. That magical pink cap - an article of clothing - could explain everything; that could speak volumes by just wearing it. Maybe it wasn't so much the hat, but the transformation that occurred when she put it on. I grabbed her hand as we crossed the finish line. My knees buckled, I lost my breath, I wanted to cry and jump for joy all at the same time. It was like touching an angel. She beat all odds and she never looked back.

She was a survivor. This year, we're walking again and I promise to not be late. This year, I'm blessed to hold her hand again. This year, others are reaching up to Heaven to hold their Mom's hand. This year, I have to breathe in every moment. I want to remember holding her hand as we cross the finish line, I want to capture the moment she looks up and Thanks God for carrying her when she was too weak to walk, I want to watch her transform as she puts on the magical pink cap. I have to remember each moment, because it's moments like this that prove angels walk this Earth. And my Mom is one of them. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13