Has Anyone Ever Fought Cancer More Tenaciously, More Gracefully?
On May 23 of this year, in celebration of National Cancer Survivors Day 2012, CancerForward will have the great fortune to honor a three-time cancer survivor whose journey with cancer is worthy of national news coverage. Yet, she has not sought to place herself under a key light or in front of a camera. Not because she’s modest about her situation or afraid to speak out. She sees herself as one of millions who have traveled the same road as she has. She believes hers is not a unique story.
I completely and personally understand her. For years, I, a rather modest person by nature, thought it uninteresting to anyone to share my survivor story. It took me several years to realize that the sharing of experience is helpful to other survivors and could be helpful to me.
I told our National Cancer Survivors Day honoree that I understood her reticence to allow her friends to honor her survivorship. I urged her to consider it thoughtfully but in the framework of what would be healthy for her. She immediately responded, “It is what it is. There’s no reason to shy away from it. It can help others” And, so, we honor a survivor who now a grandmother has fought cancer since age 12 and four years ago lost her husband to cancer far too early in his life.
Nancy Moncrief, like most survivors, she will tell you that she’s one of the luckiest people in the world.
At age 12, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease and treated at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, which would come to hold a special place in her heart and in her cancer survivorship.
In 1976, shortly after her wedding, Nancy had her thyroid removed after a routine visit to her gynecologist revealed thyroid cancer. At 42, she found a lump in her breast. It was breast cancer. She was then a mother of four boys, Price, Logan, Matthew, and Andrew, the youngest of whom was only nine years old at the time of the diagnosis.
A native Houstonian and graduate of the University of Texas, Nancy has been a top-producing residential realtor for over 30 years. She’s also become a respected community leader through her dedicated volunteerism to Ronald McDonald House, Texas Children’s Hospital, Post Oak Little League, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Kappa Kappa Gamma Houston Alumnae Association, the Junior League of Houston, Episcopal High School, River Oaks Baptist Church School, and the St. Martin’s Episcopal Church Altar Guild. In addition, she has served on the Parent’s Council at Washington and Lee University and the University of Virginia and is currently on the Executive Committee of the University of Texas Chancellor’s Council.
For her beloved MD Anderson, Nancy’s paid it forward in many ways. She makes time to be an active advocate for cancer awareness and spends as much time as possible visiting with other patients. She handled replies for many of the institution’s fundraising events, including Marvin’s Million Dollar Dream, a 1996 celebration of broadcast journalist Marvin Zindler’s 75th birthday that netted $1.3 million for breast and prostate cancer research.
“I’ve seen cancer from both sides – as a patient and a caregiver. My husband died from esophageal cancer almost four years ago,” Nancy says. “I know the importance of cancer awareness. You have to take the bull by the horns and get proactive. And, I know just how important support is when you or a loved one is in the midst of the battle against cancer.”
Because she has given hope to so many cancer survivors and enduring love to her family and friends — despite her lifelong battle with three cancers – Nancy Moncrief imbues the #ICanGoForward spirit of CancerForward. Few among us are more deserving of our respect, admiration and an evening in celebration of her life.
Tags: #ICanGoForward, breast cancer, cancer survivor, CancerForward, esophageal cancer, Hodgkin’s disease, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Nancy Moncrief, National Cancer Survivors Day, prostate cancer research, Ronald McDonald House, sharing, survivor story, survivorship, Texas Children’s Hospital, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, thyroid cancer