Telling your loved ones you have been diagnosed with a disease can be heartbreaking. But telling your young loved ones can be nearly impossible.
Beverlye Hyman Fead knows that pain all too well. Her family has had more conversations than most.
“In my family, we are riddled with cancer. My mother died at 63, my eldest sister died of ovarian cancer and my middle sister died of liver cancer.”
After watching her family suffer from the disease, she set out to make sure she would never become a statistic herself. She stayed in shape and took excellent care of herself. She was so fit, in fact, that when she started having stomach pains, she thought it was the flu, and got angry when her doctor wanted to take X-rays to see if it might be something more serious. But that anger turned to fear — at least temporarily — at what those X-rays showed: fourth stage, metastasized, inoperable cancer.
After some hugging and soul-searching, Beverlye and her doctors decided to begin an experimental treatment, using drugs that had previously been used for prostate and breat cancers.
Nine years later, Beverlye was alive and well, and ready to pay it forward.
She created a short film called “Stage IV, Living With Cancer,” and posted it online. It features other people who are battling cancer and keeping a positive attitude, even against the odds. She says that as a survivor herself, she wants to inspire people who have just been diagnosed or feel alone in their journey.
Beverlye has also written a book about how grandparents can talk to young children about cancer (“Nana, What’s Cancer?“). And she’s been inspired by her journey to get back to the other things she loves — painting and poetry.