Today is World Cancer Day. It is truly a global event and was established on  February 4, 2000 and is dedicated to raising awareness of cancer and encouraging its prevention, detection and treatment, pressing government and individuals across the world to take action.
A group of lung cancer bloggers decided to honor this day by writing about some of our relationships with survivors of other cancers. The greatest inspirations to me are from my fellow survivors. No one can truly understand the ongoing trauma, anxiety, hope, and roller coaster of emotions better than another survivor.
Today I am going to share a little about my amazing friend Ali. I met Ali in 1994 when we both worked at Chevy’s Mexican Restaurant. I was a server and she was a hostess. She had this bubbly attitude and a contagious smile that made you happy to be around her. We weren’t very close at the time but I enjoyed working with her.
After a few years, we went our separate ways and I didn’t see her again until she bought a house on my street in 2008. She recognized me (12 years later!) and we started hanging out while our kids rode bikes on our street. We were mostly casual friends and only hung out occasionally until she saw me at the gym one day in 2011, with my bald head, working out with my daughter. I told her I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and she started crying.
It wasn’t until Ali was diagnosed with cervical cancer a year later that I felt like we kept being put in each others lives for a reason. To support each other, to cry, to laugh, to love.me n Ali               Ali2

Ali initially had a radical hysterectomy and was considered cancer free – YAY!!                But the beast returned exactly a year later. She then had chemo and intense external and internal radiation. I went with her to every chemo treatment, trying to keep her company and she was once again cancer free – YAY!!
BUT the cancer came back the next year. This time she had aggressive chemo in hopes of killing this beast that keeps ravaging her body. This trend of a new tumor popping up every December was getting old. She lost her beautiful, long hair and got a crap-load of other “fun” side effects but I’m happy to say Ali has been cancer free for 6 months!
She has a great husband and 2 sons that she fights for every day. Her life is different now, as all of us with cancer have to adapt to our new normal. Ali has always been relentless at the gym, an avid runner, and even competed in the Spartan Race. She now moves a little slower due to neuropathy but is just as kind, loving, and beautiful as ever.

Ali3                Ali family

Cancer has made us better friends. We have a bond that is unbreakable and I pray we both continue to be cancer free for a LONG, LONG TIME.

I love you Al.