Living with a serious illness is always difficult, as the patient has to contend with numerous tests, procedures, and oftentimes painful treatments. In some cases, patients have to travel far from the comfort of their own home to seek the best care, adding homesickness to a growing number of challenges.
Cancer patient Michele Schambach, 65, had to manage all these hardships and more, having arrived at the Cleveland Clinic in northern Ohio from Guatemala to find a more advanced cure for an aggressive form of brain cancer.
This was Michele’s second visit to the hospital, as she had made an earlier trip in October 2019. It was snowing this time, and having never seen snow before, Michele’s daughter Marie thought of a wonderful way to cheer up the cancer patient.
Marie, herself a physician in Guatemala, was not only enchanted by the snow – she saw it as a chance to send a message of support to her mother. There was a blank patch of grass outside the cancer patient’s window and Marie saw it as the perfect canvass for a note to lift Michele’s tired spirits. “I looked out the window and saw a big blank slate, and thought I could write something on it,” she said.
One night, Marie tried to dig out words in the ground, but there wasn’t enough snowfall. She tried again the following night and her words then stood out clearly in the fresh snow.
“MOM BE BRAVE.”
Marie was so excited and knew that her mother could view the words from her window. “I told my dad, “Wake my mom! Tell her to go to the window. She was happy, so, so happy.”
Seeing the message, the Cleveland Clinic stated, “A beautiful message was left at our main campus today. To the person who wrote it, you’ve touched our hearts. #MomBeBrave.”
Cancer patients endure the utmost pain and uncertainty, and a few words in the snow showing love and care are certain to brighten up another otherwise trying day. Marie hoped that her message touched not just her mother, but other people battling cancer, and made them feel that “somebody else cares.”
Sure enough, words of encouragement came through for Michele after the clinic posted a photo of the message in the snow. As a former teacher in Latin America, students from 30 years ago started reaching out. “So happy to have so many people praying for my mom. It makes her smile,” Marie shared.
The cancer patient’s daughter is particularly appreciative of the outpouring of support since she trusted the importance of joy and happiness in healing. Fortunately, the family soon had great news – Michele’s white blood cells had gone up!
The protocol was working for the cancer patient, but Marie believed that love and concern from friends and family helped as well. “The medicine helps, but it’s from a lot of support and a lot of prayer.”
Marie’s words have not only brought strength to her mother, but are sure to have inspired and warmed the hearts of other cancer patients, and other people suffering from severe illnesses.