“The two most important days of your life are the day you’re born, and the day you figure out why.”
I remember this quote hanging on the wall in my high school library. I would stare at it often as it was right by the spot where I spent my free study periods. At seventeen, it didn't mean much to me. First of all, I obviously already had everything figured out. The only thing that confused me was why all the adults did not appreciate my infinite wisdom. Secondly, navigating high school life and preparing for college was already a full-time job that didn't leave much extra time for reflecting on the meaning of life. It is only now, starting my new full-time job as Access Manager at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), that I am thinking back to those days, that quote, and how I found my new purpose.
My journey to LLS started in 2012. The holiday season had begun, but we didn’t know that the unwelcome presence of blood cancer had quietly invaded our home. Three days before Christmas, our lives changed. As other families toasted with glasses of port, we were scheduling a port placement procedure. Like a string of lights, a series of events began. Each dependent on the other to move forward. Waiting. Hurrying. A reluctant patient and eager caregivers doing our best to navigate new roles we never wanted. Fortunately, our journey ended in remission. Unfortunately, LLS was not a part of it.
A few of my friends were part of Team in Training (TNT). I went to their fundraisers, supported them on their runs, and never recognized TNT as an LLS campaign. I first heard of LLS as an organization when I was talking to a friend about my experience. I Googled LLS after our lunch and discovered the wealth of resources LLS offers to support patients and their families. Wow! If only I had known. . .
That if is what gives me my purpose today. People need to know about these services when it matters, and sharing that message in our community makes me feel that my work matters. I am the voice of blood cancer patients in the North Texas community. To the facility administrators who don’t know how they can improve blood cancer care: Hear me. LLS is here for you. To the legislator trying to make the system better: Hear me. LLS is here for you. To the oncology professionals that guide so many through their journeys with care: Hear me. LLS is here for you. To those who are fighting for their lives and refuse to let a diagnosis define them: Hear me. LLS is here for you. To the friend who wants to help, but doesn’t know what to say or do: Hear me. LLS is here for you. To the family members sleeping on hospital couches and living off cafeteria food: Hear me. LLS is here for you. I am here for you.
Throughout this blog series, I will highlight some of our most popular services so you can learn more about the ways LLS is here for you. On a personal note, thank you to the North Texas community for welcoming me with open arms. I started this job thinking I would be the one supporting you, yet I am the one who is continually inspired by the love, strength, and hope I see every day in all of you.
Looking forward to meeting you.
Seetha Modi is the Patient Access Manager of the North Texas Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and author of this monthly blog series. She has an Masters in Public Health and has experience working with varied aspects of the healthcare industry, including hospitals, the CDC and other health-related nonprofit organizations.