Recently I did a speaking gig and someone asked if I have always wanted to be a journalist. The answer is yes — at least since I was 16 years old. I had this fascination with finding out more. Learning what makes people tick.
The most incredible stories I have had the good fortune to tell over the years revolve around the strength of the human spirit.
A few weeks ago, I met a group of former NFL cheerleaders at a party. In conversation, they told me about their friend, Teri Bode, a fellow former cheerleader who is fighting Stage 4 Breast Cancer. It has spread to her bones and she has to undergo chemo every other week to keep it from spreading to her organs. They told me how amazing she is — an inspiration. Of course, I just had to find out for myself.
My photographer and I went to shoot a story with Teri about her will to live.
As is the case with so many people I meet who are faced with adversity, her faith is strong. Not only that, her spirit is infectious.
Teri, a single mother to a 19 year old daughter, used to be a second grade teacher. Now staying alive is a full time job.
She has cancer, but cancer doesn’t have her.
Last month Teri found the strength to do something remarkable. She joined her fellow former cheerleaders on Monday Night Football for the Cardinal Cheerleaders’ 25th reunion celebration.
Despite the ongoing chemo, aching bones, and a bulky back brace, this 49 year old marched right onto the field with sass and strength, and danced her heart out (looking gorgeous, I might add).
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, ‘if you do what you love you will never work a day in your life’. I can attest to that. I live to tell stories just like this about people who refuse to give in. And refuse to give up.