For Christmas that year, I received the boring red Hoppity Hop, and Barb, my younger sister by only 14 months, received the cool yellow Hoppity Horse. Needless to say, growing up there was a healthy dose of sibling rivalry in our house!

Years later, when we shared the commonalities of marriage, kids and cancer, we became the best of friends. Barb has survived too many cancers to list, one being breast cancer ending in a double mastectomy. Her files at the University of Michigan Hospital number over 5,000 pages, and her numerous different treatments have left her in heart failure for a few years now.

Here comes the hero part. With God’s grace and with her determination and courage, she’s an inspiration to anyone that knows her and a daily blessing to me. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Barb doesn’t just survive; she strives to make a difference. Recently, despite her own compromised health, she again participated in the “Relay for Life.” Unselfishly, she spent hours walking, enduring muscle cramps and exhaustion for cancer research. To honor his Aunt Barb, my son, Jackson, who is a senior at Berkeley County Middle College High School, organized a team for the “Race for the Cure.” I implore each of you reading this to strive to make a difference — imagine the possibilities —celebrate your hero!

Cathy Lemmon