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Mom Was Strong

Last week, National Siblings Day took the Facebook feeds by storm! And in the spirit of celebrating sibling love, I wanted you to meet two sisters who came to the 2013 Call-on Congress. They are precious women who used the advocacy event to honor and remember their mom.

Here is their story.

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Sisters Michelle (left) and Casey (right).

Maybe I came too soon…

You might remember the woman I referenced in the Monday recap from the Call-on Congress. As I floated around the room I met one woman whose tears prevented her from sharing her story.

A day or so later, I sat down with her and her sister to learn about what brought them to the Call-on Congress.

Michelle and Casey lost their mother to colorectal cancer in February. They noticed information about the 2013 Call-on Congress and thought advocacy would be a good way to make a difference and prevent others from suffering.

Initially, as first-timers to the event, they wondered if they’d come to advocate too soon…. just a little over a month after their mother’s passing.

But as they learned about the impact research and funding can have on fighting disease, their loss fueled them to share their stories on The Hill and carry their mother’s strength into congressional offices.

Mom was so strong…

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The family at a GYRIG race last year, Mom wore the “S”, Dad wore the “T” and each sibling wore the other letters.

The girls showed tremendous strength as they told Congressmen and other advocates about their mom.

Strength they attribute directly to her.

As the winners of our Week #1 March Facebook photo contest, they shared a photo depicting the importance of being STRONG in their family.

At a Get Your Rear in Gear event in Fort Myers, Florida the family created Team STRONG.

The girls’ mom and dad, as well as each sibling, wore one letter making up the word “Strong.” Their mom wore the “S”, Dad wore the “R” and then the rest of the siblings wore the other letters. (With a cousin filling in for their brother.)

We aren’t strong without one another,” Casey explained. “It takes all of us to have strength.”

Each family member was assigned a letter to carry with them as their mom faced the disease.

At the Call-on Congress, the sisters each pulled out necklaces with their letter, explaining that they wear them everyday, keeping their mom’s strength with them everywhere they go.

Carrying on mom’s legacy

As a survivor, I often feel a heavy burden to “give back” and “do something” since I am fortunate to still be here. But not until I met these women did I realize that family members who’ve lost a loved one carry these burdens, too.

I am so thankful that these daughters (and actually, moms themselves) found the Call-on Congress and decided to come, although their grief is still fresh and they have young kids at home. I’m thankful that families touched by colorectal cancer have a way to DO something about it – and demand a change.

That’s precisely what these sisters did at the Call-on Congress.  And that’s exactly what our team will continue to do.

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