Everyone we meet is fighting a battle that we don’t know about. There may be smiles on their faces or strength in their voices. But underneath the tough and happy exterior lies a different story―something that deserves everyone’s kindness, support, and understanding.
And in Jyrl Oldham’s case, a sweet surprise as soon as she boarded her plane bound for Hawaii.
That’s because Jyrl finally became cancer-free just this August. The challenges began in March 2021 when she received the news that no one ever wants to receive from their doctor: she had breast cancer.
And the even sadder and scarier thing was that Jyrl was also pregnant when she received her cancer diagnosis. But having a baby on the way only strengthened Jyrl’s resolve to keep fighting and prove that she would not let cancer win.
As soon as she gave birth to her daughter, Jyrl immediately underwent cancer treatments. It was a brutal and intense couple of months. According to Valeri Jones, one of Jyrl’s closest friends, Jyrl nearly died during one of her treatments.
It was at that moment when Jyrl thought about going on a well-deserved vacation, her way of telling the universe that she was still here and she was not going anywhere.
Jyrl’s vacation destination? Beautiful Hawaii!
And if your wife beats cancer while taking care of your newborn, isn’t it just fitting to throw her a simple surprise to say how proud you are of her and how grateful you are for her? This is what Jyrl’s husband, Garrison, did onboard her Southwest Airlines flight to Hawaii.
Accompanied by Valeri and another friend, Jyrl listened to the captain’s voice on the speaker as he welcomed a ‘special guest’ on their flight.
Instead of the usual welcome message, the pilot started telling everyone about this guest’s battle with late-stage breast cancer and that she’s now cancer-free. With that, he asked everyone to give Jyrl a round of applause.
How did Garrison pull off this sweet surprise? He emailed Southwest Airlines days before Jyrl’s flight and printed out a letter for the flight attendants. Garrison knew that as a former pilot herself, Jyrl would appreciate the gesture and be touched by the onboard announcement.
And just as expected, his wife was genuinely surprised and visibly moved by the heartwarming applause and words of congratulations she received from the passengers and crew.
In the video taken and uploaded by her friend Valeri, she could be seen getting teary-eyed as she smiled at everyone and soaked in the love.
It’s truly a sweet and thoughtful way to support this cancer patient and survivor and an exciting way to kick off their Hawaii vacation!
A shoutout like this may seem simple and insignificant to some people. But for a cancer patient, it means the world. According to the World Health Organization, cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide, with approximately 10 million reported deaths in 2020. Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer.
Cancer takes a physical, emotional, and mental toll. Also, the medical expenses keep piling up, often with no guarantee you’ll even beat cancer even with all those cancer treatments. Any act of kindness or message of support can certainly turn a bad day around.
To borrow the captain’s words, it’s pretty special to share a human bond and take care of one another in today’s world. And he’s right―everybody’s just a big family, after all.
And if we can make someone’s day better and happier in our own little ways, we should do it right away, no questions asked.
To everyone who’s going through their own cancer battles, may Jyrl’s story inspire you to keep going and beat cancer.
Watch the touching surprise announcement and Jyrl’s heartwarming reaction in the video below, which has been making the rounds on the internet. Make sure to get a Kleenex or two as well!