28 October 2010


There is the series on NTV’s evening news this week featuring Yvonne Jones. The Liberal Party leader is fighting breast cancer. She allowed NTV to follow her through part of that experience.

This is not something most of us would do, under any circumstances.  Jones did, however,  and in the act of openness has given people a chance to see an aspect of her that is quite different from the clips on the evening news or the sterile quote in the paper.

The segment on Wednesday night featured a group of women, some of them breast cancer survivors themselves.  They came to support Jones as she shaved her head before starting chemotherapy. Even if you did not know any of the women, you could not help but be moved to the brink of tears.

There was a prayer chain made up of sheets of paper containing messages for Yvonne.

Jones held up a blanket knit by a group of women at a church and told about it and where it came from.

There was a picture of her cheerleaders.

Here was a woman taking the first step along a very difficult journey.  Difficult is not even the right word for it.  Truth be told, unless you have faced such a thing as cancer, it’s hard to know what word is right.

Other words come to mind, though, from watching the segment. Red faces.  Cracking voices. Trepidation.  Hugs.  Prayers. Fear.  But at the same time compassion, optimism, and laughter that seemed to make all those other things  - if not disappear  - then seem not quite so enormous.

An experience that can only be singularly personal transformed in all its dimensions through camaraderie.

Some people lead by saying: “Follow me!”

Others say: “let us go this way together.”

Life is full of contrasts.

- srbp -