The C Word, by Danielle Gilbert

For some reason, cancer, the dreaded C word, has been a part of my life for a very long time. My mother had it. My father had it. One of my best friends had it. Now it is a part of my everyday work and I have been fortunate enough to meet the most precious people because of it. Like everything in life, there are two sides to this story. In just about every circumstance I have witnessed involving the C word, it has delivered not only pain, but beauty, sadness and joy, anger and gratitude—the fullest spectrum of emotions that a person could experience.

Here is what I have learned about cancer:

It is really mean. It seems to take on a life of its own and sometimes it gets very angry.

It is indiscriminate. Economic status, religion, age, race—it doesn’t matter. Cancer is a force to contend with for all walks of life. Little children, the kindest of souls, the richest, the poorest—all are potential targets.  

It makes people real. When you are dealing with such a disease, the little things that once were bothersome or big priorities inevitably become little things.

It brings people gifts. Many people will say that cancer also comes with beautiful gifts—the great kindness of friends and strangers, a deeper connection with others, a new attitude about life. Out of our wounds often come our gifts.

An old Indian proverb states,

“When you have your health, you have a thousand dreams. And when you don’t, you only have one.”

How true is that?  

I am fortunate to be a part of The Estuary and all of the good that it does, namely the Cancer Support Program. Please consider making a donation to support our work, remembering that in its indiscriminate path, cancer often affects the people who can’t afford extra help. In its meanness, cancer makes people extremely sick and often very stressed. Our program helps mitigate the symptoms and difficulties of the disease, bringing what gifts we can to the wounded.

Danielle Gilbert

Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach, Integrative Therapist

Donations During the Big Payback can be made on May 2nd to the Estuary at

Or we accept donations throughout the year on our website donations page