As Lizzie’s mom, I have had the privilege of writing on her blog twice before today. The first time was after her surgery, and what a great day it was. We had so much hope.
The second time was in Boston when Elizabeth was beginning a new trial drug. We still had hope.
Today as I write this, I am reminded how Elizabeth could find hope in the smallest of things, in the most difficult times. For those of you not aware, Elizabeth passed away peacefully on Feb 25, 2017.
When you love someone as much as we loved Elizabeth, you believe you can protect them. To say we were blindsided by this terrible disease is an understatement. Elizabeth had an incredible will to live, and so much to live for. If a healthy, young, pregnant, non-smoking woman can get lung cancer, anyone can. Lung cancer took Elizabeth in the prime of her life. While our pain is still raw, and with Lung Cancer Awareness Month approaching, we felt it was important to do what Elizabeth would do; continue to raise awareness for a cancer that kills more Canadians each year than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined.
There has been so much progress with lung cancer research and therapies in the last five years, but there is so much more work to do. Lung Cancer is Canada’s deadliest cancer, yet receives only 7% of government funding and 1% of personal donations. The more Elizabeth learned about the stigma associated with lung cancer the harder she fought to create awareness. In Elizabeth’s memory, we will sell her ‘just breathe’ products on her online etsy store during November, Lung Cancer Awareness Month ( #LCAM ). They will also be available at the Evening of Hope on Nov. 16th. https://www.aneveningofhope.ca/One of the most valuable things Elizabeth taught us throughout her illness is that hope comes in varying degrees. When she was first diagnosed, she hoped to see Jack’s first birthday. After her successful surgery, she hoped to see Jack’s first day of school. When the cancer returned, she hoped the new trial drug would allow her to celebrate Jack’s second birthday. Her healthcare team at the Ottawa Cancer Centre, lead by Dr. Scott Laurie, was second to none. If Plan A wasn’t working, Dr. Laurie always had a Plan B, C & D. This gave Elizabeth what she needed most, hope for more time. It was hope that gave her the courage to consciously choose happiness and make the most of each day in the face of a life threatening disease.
Two months after her diagnosis, Elizabeth began blogging her cancer journey to create awareness, encourage hope, and inspire others. It began with a handful of followers and grew to be read in over 80 countries, winning Healthline’s best blog of 2016. She never imagined how much her blog readers would give back to her in return. The level of kindness and compassion shown to her was beyond measure. You became a tremendous source of strength for her in some of her most difficult hours. Our family is grateful for the outpouring of support from the community that she brought together through this blog.
As we grieve her loss we are comforted by the many ways she has been remembered.
The first annual Elizabeth Dessureault Hockey Tournament was a huge success, raising $9000 for Lung Cancer Canada.
These are just a few of the incredibly kind things that have happened in Elizabeth’s memory. Thank you for the love and kindness shown to Elizabeth and our family over the past 2 years. We have witnessed the best in humanity in the most difficult time in our lives.
Elizabeth Anne Dessureault
March 17 1989 – February 25 2017