Survivors Don’t Yield

Julia G | Family Member |

When my mother got lung cancer, I wanted Survivor to become her new title, her latest achievement. I was convinced she’d “beat” this thing and we’d come out afterwards, advocating for others. Maybe we’d walk 5Ks together and talk about how she’d defeated cancer…

That’s not what happened.

In 3 short months, my mother’s cancer grew. Despite the best doctors, the best medicine, despite her will to live and her “fighter” instinct, it grew and then it took her life.

Webster’s dictionary says the opposite of survival is to yield, to be defeated. My mother didn’t yield. Like most cancer patients, she fought with every healthy cell, but the cancer cells were stronger. There was no defeat. No failure. Just powerlessness. And then death.

So, no. She did not become a cancer survivor. But I did.

I survived my mother’s cancer and I do what we would have done together. I advocate. I run 5Ks. I talk about how cancer took her life and changed mine. I’m friends with people who are surviving this disease and I do what I can so that more people will survive. And although I can’t see or touch her or hear her voice today, her spirit inspires and encourages me every day. She lives on, through me.


  1. Julia I am sorry for the loss of your mother.
    I am inspired by your determination to educate and encourage others to
    learn about cancer and the fact that you have become an advocate.
    I am a cancer survivor and last September I participated in the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk. It took me 9 1/2 hours but I walked the entire 26.2 miles and plan to do it again this September 8th!

    Jennifer | | 10:49am

  2. I am sorry for your loss. I started surviving my mothers cancer on April 13, 2009 when she passed from pancreatic cancer. We all deal with loss in different ways and we are part of club we wish did not even exist. I applaud the work you have done since your loss. I put mine into raising funds for MGH Cancer Center through theater and we are now in our 6th year of fund raising and thriving. I contribute this to my mothers strength and courage and the grace in which she left this world. It carries on in the people that work with me every day to fight this disease and I hope you the same in your endeavors. Keep on surviving!

    Greg | | 12:29pm

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