Kristina Smith is a loving widow, mother, teacher and basketball coach in Hollister, MO. She has one son, Porter (3), step-daughter, Lilly (15), and two fur babies, Molly and Daisy. Kristina enjoys basketball, watching her daughter play volleyball, and riding four-wheelers and looking for deer with her boy. Kristina enjoys reading in her spare time, and writing–her one way that she has found brings healing to the unimaginable grief experienced from losing her husband to colon-cancer, at an early age. Kristina is one of the 2016 Ambassadors.
In sixteen short months, my life crumbled down.
I had my dream career, was celebrating my first year of marriage to the Joe, the love of my life. We were also expecting our first born son. Suddenly, our world collapsed. I found myself going months without income, raising an infant that had grown up in the floors of the hospital’s cancer ward and facing the loss of my husband who died from colon cancer. I had been robbed of my life, my hope, my dreams.
Three years later, I still feel robbed.
After my husband lost his battle to colon cancer, when our son was 14 months old, I wasn’t sure how to handle grief, legacy and motherhood. I still do not know. I just do it. It took nearly two years of fighting the highs and lows to find my voice again, bring justice, and highlight hope even in despair.
Road to advocacy
I never had the moment that I “knew” I was ready to advocate, speak out, or even bring light to such an awful disease. However, that is when a higher power intervened. After sharing our family’s story for 7 Billion Ones, a movement created to share people’s stories all around the world, I met a colon cancer survivor. I knew immediately I needed to speak to her. Upon doing so, we discussed her involvement with Fight CRC.
A few emails later, I realized that Fight CRC was the organization our family needed three years ago when our colon cancer journey had begun. I got connected and became a Fight CRC Ambassador. It was a weekend that changed my life.
A new purpose
When I met Fight CRC advocates from across the nation during the 2016 Ambassador training, I felt immediately inspired. I knew we all shared something devastating, but that “something” is the reason we were brought together. I knew our voices would bring the change we desperately need to fight colorectal cancer.
We all found our purpose in that room.
A fire inside me was lit, I felt hopeful again. I could feel my husband’s will and determination in me, encouraging me to fight against this deadly disease.
Ready to fight
I’m getting involved in the fight against colorectal cancer in different ways: speaking at a lady’s cancer luncheon, maintaining a personal blog through Facebook, being a guest on The Colon Cancer Podcast. I also bring awareness as loud as I can as a teacher. Our family has created a scholarship fund for high school seniors who have lost a parent before graduation to help them pursue their dreams.
I have recently gotten involved with the cancer board at Mercy Hospital, a local hospital in Springfield, Mo., and hope to partner with them to shine a light on advocacy. I have also appeared in Fight CRC’s magazine, Beyond Blue.
These are small steps in the big, messy world of cancer, but they’re steps in my journey that are helping me heal.
My future in advocacy
My dreams are still big, powered even more so by the strength of my husband’s memory and love, which will forever live within me. I’m hopeful for more speaking engagements, the opportunity to publish a book, as well as the creation of “stories of cancer love through pictures” being showcased in hospital cancer floors.
My ultimate goal is for everyone to be aware of their family’s medical history, act upon it, and to be proactive. I plan to be an active voice in bringing awareness to our congressional leaders so we are mindful of our approach to change in health care laws.
Through a loud and passionate voice, with a love that continues to shine bright, I am hopeful we will win this fight!