Texas Rangers and Hope in the Sand

In the summer issue of CURE, I wrote about Suzanne Lindley and her ongoing battle with metastatic colon cancer. Diagnosd at 31, Suzanne is now 43 and serves as a beacon for others who have any kind of liver tumors through the advocacy organization she founded called YES. After the article came out, in one of those serendipitous moments, Suzanne met my nephew Brent Garcia, who is in marketing with the Texas Rangers Baseball Club. He and Suzanne talked, and Brent got some tickets for cancer survivors to attend a Ranger's game. While at the game, Suzanne asked Brent if people could go on the field. Thinking she meant a big crowd, he said it wasn't allowed. Then she explained it would only be her and all she wanted to do was scratch the word HOPE in the sand on the pitcher's mound and take a picture of it for a worldwide program for cancer patients called Hope in the Sand. Brent said he would look into it, and, being the brilliant young man he is, he explained it to the fan coordinator who explained it to the grounds crew and pretty soon a few guys named Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg (the Rangers owners) found out about it. That set the ball rolling,and, as you can see from the picture, they not only did it, they did it right. I'll let Suzanne explain it as she did in this email to Brent earlier this month. Dear Brent,I can't thank you enough for the most amazing picture of "Hope" and the lengths that you went to in order to accomplish it. It means more to me than you will ever know! The ripples will touch lives far and wide. I thought I would share some of the background of "Hope in the Sand" and how the concept came about. At the bleakest point in my cancer diagnosis when the tumors in my liver were growing out of control, Ronnie and I were told that I had only months to live. We were devastated....and after having chosen a coffin, making funeral arrangements, preparing our children....a friend sent me the original hope picture. He said that when I felt like there was no hope left and my world was spinning out of control I would only have to look at this picture of hope and it would be mine to hold.I carried the picture everywhere, and after I received targeted therapy for my liver tumors and life once again looked bright, it was a powerful reminder for me to share with others. As YES grew, so did the concept of Hope in the Sand. Hope has been written by survivors and caregivers from the war in Iraq (a young soldier whose wife was fighting for her life from colon cancer), Japan (by a doctor who I met on a flight from California whose sister had just been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer), Australia, Spain, Ireland, and all across the United States. It has been written in sign language from a skydiving group, on mountaintops, on golf courses, tennis courts, and now at The Ballpark in Arlington!!! There is a story of love, courage, dreams, and battle for those who are finding the deep meaning of that one word in every second of their lives.This picture holds special meaning for a number of reasons. When you and I first met, your aunt had just written the CURE article about my journey with cancer. I have no doubt that our meeting was "divine intervention."To further that, the Rangers featured YES in the Community Corner not long ago and our Survivor Line immediately received calls that helped others. Then we were given tickets to games that survivors and their families enjoyed. To put it simply, the Texas Rangers have allowed hope to fill and replace the fears and uncertainty that come with this disease. For a few short hours families have been able to smile, enjoy, and recreate a little bit of normalcy by being together at a game. I have felt this with my family and am thankful to have been able to share it with others.Yesterday, I attended the game with a young woman. The tumors have spread and her fight is hard and, more often lately than not, grim. Her hope all but taken away. I watched her smile at the game. It was a powerful moment and one that I will not soon forget. I hope you, and all those that helped you make my dream come true today, realize the impact of your accomplishment and never doubt the good that you do for others each day. Survivors like me who have been told that there is no hope will hold tight that picture and be reminded they are not dying from cancer, but instead living fully in spite of it! That's just the beginning of the hope you created!!Thank you,Suzanne