Jane is a ten-year survivor of a very rare form of cancer Myelodysplastic Syndrome. She has enjoyed several exciting careers including a librarian, counselor, teacher, and writer. She loves to write about surviving cancer, overcoming hearing loss, and her hearing ear service dog, Sita.
There are some amazing studies that show how certain birds help each other in times of need. For us cancer survivors, we should be like these birds and help each other more.
I, like most people, enjoy hearing birds sing and watching them fly. My parents had birdfeeders in the yard, and we would watch them all the time. However, I never knew how intelligent they were until I toured a bird sanctuary.
The shelter took sick and injured birds from all over the country and rehabilitated them. The presenter convinced me that birds are way more intelligent than given credit for. Scientists are studying them and what interested me the most, was how social they are and how they help each other out. I am one of those people who constantly say I like animals better than some people and now I can add birds to that list.
There is a unique type of bird that is mostly found in the southwest U.S. including Arizona, New Mexico, Kansas, and Texas. The Harris Hawk is a very sociable animal and hangs out in small family groups. They hunt together, keep watch for predators and even band together to raise the younger birds — it takes a village!
What I found most interesting is that they are what is known as “back stackers.” This movement can be compared to the pyramid setup in cheerleading. They stand on each other's backs if there isn’t enough room to perch, and three or four of them on top of each other look out over the arid desert watching for predators.
I think about how these creatures serve and help each other, and then I think about people. Admittedly there are some not so nice people in the world but as a cancer survivor, I have had many “stackers” to help me. I have stood on the backs of people who risked clinical trials to be sure the various chemotherapy treatments I received were safe. I have stood on the backs of the great doctors and nurses who sacrifice everything, even amid a dangerous pandemic, to help me. I have stood on the backs of other cancer survivors to inspire me. And I certainly have stood on the backs of family and friends and church people who support me. I also have attempted to provide a back for others to stand on too.
So, cancer survivors, when you get down and discouraged as we all do, think of these birds that assist each other and the people who have helped you along your journey. It may make life just a little easier on those down days.
Then there are the days others need us. Look at the view like these great hawks do and help each other!