Each year I receive a subscription to Canadian Living magazine from Jeff’s mom for Christmas. I’ve been reading this magazine since I was a little girl at my Grandma Bates’ house. I would curl up in the recliner next to the wood stove in the kitchen and flip through all the old issues that she collected. I’ve always enjoyed the stories, the crafts and the recipes.

In the April 2009 issue, a read a story was titled “My Symbol of Hope”. The author recounted her family history and her own diagnoses with Lymphoma, a related blood cancer to CLL, and how on one discouraging Easter weekend, she found hope in discovering a daffodil growing along the path that symbolized to her hope, courage and strength.

I identified with her story for a number of reasons and so I wrote an email to the magazine.

You can find my letter (!) on page 17 (which, let’s face it… that’s almost like the front page with all that advertising they put in magazines…). And in case you don’t already have the June 2009 issue in your collection, and so you don’t have to run out to get your copy, I’m including my thoughts here for you to enjoy.

Thank you for sharing “My Symbol of Hope” by Michelle Rickaby (April 2009). I was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia just over 10 years ago when I was 24, and like Michelle, I have found strength, hope and courage in the symbol of the daffodil. A few years ago I filled my garden with daffodil bulbs in memory of those who have lost their fight with cancer and in honour of those who continue to fight. Even as I write this, my son and I are eagerly watching and waiting for the bulbs to burst into the yellow flower that symbolizes the fight for cancer.

But even when the delicate yellow blooms fade and their flower heads bend low to the ground, I don’t have to look far to find strength, hope and courage. These can be found all year round on the faces of patients and caregivers in the waiting rooms, chemo clinics, transfusion clinics and throughout the hospital, those who bravely fight their battle with cancer every day. And as we share our stories and share our lives, we find the strength, hope and courage to carry on.

Heather Smyth

**If you want a signed copy… I’m sure that can be arranged! (I’m joking… kinda).