The first time I realised life is too short to be lived with regret

Being diagnosed with leukaemia shook the very foundations of my world. I was 16 and living in a carefree, bright and luminous world. As I watched my parent’s uncontrollable tears, a harsh realisation hit me like a bolt of lightning through my heart – things would never be the same again.

And things started to change immediately, while my friends were experimenting with colours in their hair – mine was falling out. I also never got to write my final exams. Months in hospital robbed me of the opportunity to study further and my once carefree school days were snatched away from me.

As the cancer began to devastate my body, so a deep sense of loss penetrated my heart and steadily clouded my vision. To counter this I began writing journals, never imagining that one day my mother would draw strength from them. As fate would have it, four years later she was diagnosed with cancer and began her treatment regime. Watching her suffer as I had, reaffirmed the greatest lesson of my illness, one which has morphed into a steadfast belief – life is too short to be lived with regret.

I’ve also learnt that love is the most important gift you can ever give or receive. I see now that my illness was part of my life’s purpose. It is my calling to help others become aware of cancer, so they too might learn its deep and meaningful lessons. Ones that can only be taught in classroom of life.

This story is from the Moments In Time Project.

Moments in Time features specially selected cancer patients with different forms of cancers; all from different backgrounds, who have opened themselves up to the lens of the camera. The project is a visual expression of the fruits of the Human Spirit and irresistibly captures: “hope in the face of despair”, “passion in the face of pain”, “joy in the face of sadness”, and “power in the face of vulnerability”. Each year a range of calendars and diaries are produced to inspire others and celebrate these ambassadors.

The 2011 project’s visual style is complex and handmade, capturing a range of emotions that are young, old, feminine, brave and above all, heartfelt. This powerful work delivers a certain ‘realness’ and honesty while still maintaining a strong artistic edge. The 2011 range of Moments in Time products promise to be a thought provoking and powerful collection of vibrant “slices of life”. It also stands out as being totally different from the previous years, not only in its truly unique design, but also in its complete interactivity. But perhaps the biggest distinction can be found in the fact that the project ambassadors are all beneficiaries of the Moments in Time Trust.  All of these patients, who are not on medical aid, applied to the Trust for financial support and were granted some form of funding relief at a particular point in time over the last few years.

Through stories of courage, faith and fearlessness, Moments in Time reveals the concept of “meaning in life”.

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