South African Alumni Global Heroes of Hope 2011
Cenessa Stork – “Fallen” Global Hero of Hope – 2011
Since becoming IHOH SA my journey through a normal 365 days year turned into 1000 days exploration. My new status opened doors to an exciting and very busy year, filled with loads of good days, and many not so sunny ones. In one year I travelled all around the country to different relays and CANSA functions to spread the message of hope.
I met amazing and loving people, and some even changed my life and lot of them inspired me to stay hopeful. In this one year only: I got kissed by a pot belly pig, tried to save a premature born lamb (but it was too weak and died) and had a cheetah relaxing on my lap whilst I was rubbing his back. For the first time in my life I got to fly in a helicopter. I taught ladies in my home town to dance and arranged a variety dancing show, the first ever for St Lucia.
I became the youngest member on the bowls committee team and also the youngest one to become a competitions marker. Proudly I took all my clothes off to pose for a calendar in aid of CANSA. Attending the Relay in Rustenburg gave my family the chance to hear me speak for the very first time which was an unforgettable moment in my life.
Most important of all, being nominated IHOH got me noticed by the local newspaper which offered me one a job that would fit in around my life with CANSA and cancer. I had a million things on my plate, and only 1000 days to get it all done, and I had amessage to pass on: One of hope. Unfortunately some very dark and bitter days also filled my calendar year.
Cancer stuck its head out and re-appeared twice. Operations, wounds not healing, cancer medication not working and exhausting the stock of chemo all added to very dark days in hospital beds and pitch black moments in my soul. The days I was too ill to worry I slept, and the days I was well enough to worry, I had to board a plane to visit a Relay. I literally had no time to think about cancer, only had to be at the hospital on time as scheduled and hope the doctors can fix me.
Living with cancer is a challenge, but born in the year of the dragon 1976 meant that I was born a fighter and defeat is not an option. Cancer started to infiltrate my already hectic and abnormal life and my survivor mode button switched on automatically and I started to fight, as I want to beat this.
What I’ve learned from being the IHOH is that I’ve got to accept the fact that I’m a friendly, intelligent and brave lady WITHOUT real breasts. My lovely voluptuous ‘fill the whole cup’ Size C’s complimented my smile and my legs. What is a girl without her breasts? I could not see a normal live without them. Not having breasts was a fact I couldn’t accept for a very long time and my self-esteem suffered a knock-out blow. Not even 30 or married or in a relationship and I have to give up my breasts to stay alive.
Along my journey a lot of angels crossed my path, including the CANSA angels.Very special people working towards finding a cure for our cause was also trying to make us believe in life again. CANSA entered my life and made me realise that I’m not alone; in fact, I’m one of the very lucky survivors. I can make a difference and CANSA trusted me wholeheartedly. Without taking much notice, I was pushed into a direction that changed my existence. CANSA made me aware of the fact that I’m still special. In fact, they acted as if I was the most special person at any time on any given day. I just have to get used to the fact that I’m special, in a different way.
Being nominated as a hero meant that it’s time to face my demons. I’m going to give hope and everybody following my journey is going to find out about ALL my imperfections. This hero doesn’t have real breasts, but she’s got a real heart, burning with a tangerine flamed fire of hope. All I know was that I need to spread this message to the victims who is facing life with a dreaded disease like cancer. I would not exchange this 1 000 day year for any of my lost body parts. When I see someone’s eyes light up with hope, I know my cuts, losses, and bruises, pain, heartache and tears played an enormous part to become a true hero.
Now if you’ll excuse me. There is some lost cancer souls in need of hope and I still have to get into my purple lycra hero outfit! Hope, love, bliss and fortune to you,
IHOH Cenessa Stork