In August of 1979 while I stroked Amber’s hair and lulled her to sleep, I discovered a small tumor that would transform our world. Since then, I have come to understand her “Life Task” on this earth: To live with cancer and through this journey, teach the world about love, courage, hope, the reality of “Heaven,” and the power we possess. My “Life Task” was revealed to me slowly and oh, so painfully. God directed me. “Be at her side. Document her journey. Learn through your heartbreak. Bring Amber’s message to the world.”
It has not been easy to accept my fate. I have fought and resisted every step of the way. Though I have given up many times, God has not. He gently nudged me along, guiding each step and giving me the strength and fortitude to continue this mission. You may ask why.
There are four reasons why I didn’t let Amber simply die and become a statistic. First, she was an extraordinary little girl—perfect in every way—except for the large tumor that grew on and in her head. It was very graphic; not hidden somewhere inside her body; not easy to dismiss. I couldn’t forget the sight of cancer, the sound of Amber pleading with God to make the pain stop, or the smell of the necrotic tumor as it ate away at my little girl. My senses are still reeling as I search my soul and call up the experience.
Second, though my daughter was dead, I couldn’t ignore the millions of people who have cancer now, nor its future victims and their families who live with the anguish. What about them? Who will speak for them? They need a voice. What better than a child’s voice? I can’t let them become a statistic either.
Third, the “War on Cancer” that Nixon launched in 1971 has become a war amongst ourselves. The very people assigned to eradicating cancer are instead fighting with each other. As Dr. Samuel Epstein, cancer expert and author of the Politics of Cancer, says, “Winning the war on cancer means preventing cancer. Yet cancer is a multi-billion dollar business. Isn’t preventing cancer bad for business? It is for the pharmaceutical and mammography business. These industries have intricate ties to U.S. policy makers, directing research funds to insure their continued profits in cancer diagnosis/treatment. It’s time for reform.” We are all guilty, more or less, of “turning a blind eye” to the people, especially the children, who are suffering. It is so incredibly unbearable, the mere thought of “CANCER” conjures up the most terrifying state we can imagine. It is a form of torture that no one would invite. Unless cancer is thrust upon us, we cannot invite it into our lives. As humans, this denial is a necessary tool to survive…a natural response to pain…a way to move on with our lives and truly live.
Fourth, I have no choice. I must complete my loving Life Task: To bring Amber’s message to the world… to give you hope in the face of despair. It is why I was chosen. It is why I was born in the Queen of Angels Hospital in Los Angeles, the City of Angels. It is why I am on this earth.
The past thirty-seven years have been filled with every emotion, thought, and feeling that you can imagine…that you have probably experienced in your own life as well. For me, this time has been one of discovery, transition, challenge and learning. I am forever grate