I met Wesley when I was only 8 and married him at 22. We had our son five years later despite the risk of infertility from the treatments that helped save my life when I was diagnosed with cancer at 24. Becoming his mother was a remarkable gift. And even more than the reason I survived, he is the reason I was born. 

The week before our son's fourth birthday, on an ordinary Saturday morning, Wesley cleaned out an old cabinet in our garage, and inside, there was mold, droppings and a bag of fertilizer that was soaking wet but should've been dry. Almost immediately, he complained of shortness of breath, which led to a hospital stay a month later and eight more that year. Exactly one year to the day of him cleaning out the cabinet, he received a double-lung transplant.

When Wesley died six weeks later, at the age of 35, I didn't know who I was without him. I didn't know how to navigate my life as a widowed single mother. But I did know one thing for sure: there had to be a really big reason for Wesley leaving the planet, and it was my job as our son's mother to help bring to fruition whatever greatness could come to our lives, not in spite of losing Wesley but because of losing him. 

My efforts over the past 15 years, and even the 24 years since I survived cancer, have been about finding the lesson and sharing what can be gained when one is willing to learn from the unimaginable. By far, one of the greatest lessons I've learned throughout my experiences as a cancer survivor and a caregiver is patient advocacy. And I couldn't have possibly known that surviving cancer and navigating Wesley's complicated illness would one day help save my mother's life and lead me to establishing Empathetic Healthcare Practices™. 

It's true that much of what I've experienced has been painful and tragic, but I've also experienced joy and fulfillment. I haven't built a career based on hardship, I've built a life based on the lessons these hardships have taught me. I believe that hardships are opportunities for crossroads, not an impasse. And I have always been willing to lend my story if it helps someone else better tell their own.

As you visit these pages and learn more about The DON'T WAIT Project®,  Big Shoes and my story, know that I'm grateful you're here, and I hope you find what speaks to your heart.