Bonnie Annis is a breast cancer survivor, diagnosed in 2014 with stage 2b invasive ductal carcinoma with metastasis to the lymph nodes. She is an avid photographer, freelance writer/blogger, wife, mother and grandmother.
In honor of CURE co-founder Kathy LaTour, who passed away June 19, 2020, a fellow VOICES writer shares the lessons she learned by reading Kathy’s insightful words.
Recently, I learned some sad news as I read about the death of a brave woman, Kathy LaTour. Although we’d never met in person, I’d come to know, love and respect Kathy due to a common bond we shared — breast cancer and a love of writing.
When I began blogging for Cure Magazine in 2015, the year after I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I found comradery with several of the other VOICES writers as we shared the stories of our lives. As I read various posts by different bloggers, I’d gain an understanding of who they were and how they felt. In essence, I learned their voice.
Kathy had a strong voice. Her posts were always informative and positive. I could tell by reading her blog that she was very interested in helping others not only understand breast cancer, but she wanted to equip them with knowledge to live a good life too.
She was more experienced than I was both in blogging and with her breast cancer expertise. I looked to her as a mentor and always found valuable life lessons in her posts.
As I read about her death, I was heartbroken. It felt like I’d lost a family member and that’s when I realized, I really had. Kathy was a kindred spirit and a pink sister.
When one of our voices are silenced, we all hear it. Those in the breast cancer community realize the importance of making our voices heard and that’s why we share our stories so willingly. Many of us do it to help others and sometimes, even to help ourselves.
Cure has been kind enough to allow every day people, like Kathy and I, to be a vital part of their company by giving us an opportunity to blog for them. As each of us share, we build a following of men and women who find themselves relating to us in unique ways. Our responsibility is great. While we want to share openly and honestly, we must take time to consider the information we share and how we share it. Kathy was a master at this.
In her post, When TV Comes Calling, I found myself giving her a huge air fist bump as I read about her encounter with a talk show host. Kathy barred no holds. She spoke the truth with candid fervor. And in her post, Finding Hope During the Cancer Journey, where Kathy shares her story about a friend who’s lost confidence in our healthcare system, I found her post tugging at my heart strings.
In that post she said, “I heard a rather long discussion about something called “false hope.” Evidently this is what doctors offer when they say positive things about the future knowing full well that there may not be one… When will doctors see that they are only half of what we need? The other half is the heart part, the place where someone gets to know us not as tumor but as people with hopes and dreams and plans.”
No, I didn’t have the privilege of knowing Kathy personally, but I felt like I knew her by reading what she wrote. And even though her voice is no longer audible, we still hear you Kathy. We will hear you for years and years to come.
Your legacy will live on forever in the cancer community and I am grateful for that. I know I will find myself referring back to your posts for information and advice on how to navigate through the challenging world of breast cancer.
May you rest in peace, dear friend, and may you know how very much you were loved.
Thank you for speaking out. Thank you for being you.