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I was 39 years old, married with 3 kids ages 8, 5 and 2, when I got my diagnosis; stage 2b, estrogen negative breast cancer with lymph nodes involved. I was surprised when a deacon at my church asked that I make every effort to make it to church every week, regardless of how I am feeling. He pointed out that it is very important for people to see sick people serving, and he is the best example of that! All through my treatments I would continue my task of calling the children forward to the alter every other week to do a children's message. I surprised even myself that I was able to attend every single week! There were times when I had to leave a little early, and I knew I would be wiped out for the rest of the day, but I looked forward to it. Some weeks it was the only time I went out besides my Dr's appointments. After a while I grew tired of the wigs and scarves, and actually went in front of the congregation with nothing on my head but glitter.

After 4 months of chemo, a double mastectemy with reconstruction, and 6 weeks of radiation, I am so glad that the kids can look at me and know that cancer is something that you can, indeed, go through and come out the other side. I really pray that the next time that someone they know gets the diagnosis of cancer, they will have the hope that they will come through a long, hard journey and still be here to love them and not jump to the conclusion that it is a death sentence.

Now I know that it is important for sick people to serve. We need to be seen.

Maura Bivens
Las Vegas, NV

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