The Blue Ribbon Brigade

A couple of years ago I “met” an amazing lady via Instagram. Her name is Dawn, and she was (and continues to be) a woman on a mission. My connection with her began during the onset of dealing with Dorie’s cancer. I was struggling because I was afraid to express my fears and pain. I didn’t want to make it harder for Dorie by making her feel guilty because we were all afraid and sad. I didn’t want her to see me cry. I kept most of my emotions inside me, fought through the first days with Dorie after the diagnosis trying to hold back tears and doubts, and it was effecting our relationship negatively because one thing we never did was keep secrets or not share EVERYTHING. It wasn’t working, but I didn’t know what to do.

This wonderful woman, whose Instagram account is found @captainjackofficial and whom I now call a friend, helped me to understand that yes – Dorie’s cancer was about Dorie, but it was ALSO about every person who loved Dorie – everyone who was a caregiver to her, everyone who was a part of her life. I spoke with my new friend at length about this, and after some days of sharing messages and comments, after a lot of encouragement and gentle understanding from her, I felt confident and sure of what my heart needed to do.

I talked to Dorie very openly and honestly, and a lot of tears and shaky voices and hugs and hand holding later we had reached a new level in both our friendship and our experience with cancer, and I knew that no matter what the outcome of the situation, or how hard the process might be, we were exactly where we needed to be. Nothing is ever better left unsaid. That was all the proof I needed to believe that again. Dawn helped me to get there.

The reason this wonderful IG friend was able to be of so much help and encouragement to me was because not long before, she had gone through her own experience with cancer. Her son had been diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma and he had recently passed away. I was beyond inspired by her strength and her ability to take her situation and build from it in a way that helped and encouraged and inspired so many.

She started a Facebook page and group called Noah’s Blue Ribbon Brigade to honor her son Noah. This space aims to support childhood cancer awareness, grief and share signs of hope. She became a voice and an advocate for people struggling with cancer – especially children and their parents, and in 2016 she was honored with the Beacon of Hope award from Alex’s Safe Harbor, and she began writing and working to publish her first book to spread her message and reach as many people as she could.

Especially since Dorie’s death, her message of hope after loss has made such a difference in my life. If you have been touched by cancer in any way, or suffered loss of any kind, I would like to invite and encourage you to explore Dawn’s Facebook page and group, and to find your own inspiration and hope from her words, images and experiences. You can find any information you need there about Dawn and contacting her, as well. Please join me in supporting this wonderful human being and friend as she works so hard toward publication of her story and her inspiration of hope in her forthcoming book.

Thanks, friends. Much love to all,


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