Daily Archives: December 9, 2012

Fellow travelers: Thao

A continuing source of strength, inspiration, sometimes sorrow but always joy, are my relationships with others who are battling cancer. Although our paths are often very different, they can intersect in meaningful ways.

Among my fellow travelers is a young woman who is quite special to me. Having met online, we have built a relationship via personal messages. Only thirty two, my friend Thao was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer four months after the birth of her young son. Over the past three years, Thao has undergone just about every conceivable treatment in an attempt to arrest her cancer, including numerous clinical trials. Often, her life has hung in the balance. But Thao is tough, and I have learned to never underestimate her commitment to surviving.

IMG_0024On Wednesday Thao’s nephew Bon drove her to Boston for an appointment at MGH. Having exhausted most treatment options, she is hoping to participate in an upcoming clinical trial; enrollment is still weeks away. After the appointment, Thao, her nephew and I met at a restaurant in Chinatown called Shabu-Zen. Over an asian hot pot meal, I learned more about Thao and her extended family and what motivates my petite but formidable friend. Before saying goodbye we asked Bon to snap a photo of the two of us on my iPhone.


Not only did Thao insist on buying my lunch, she had a christmas gift for me as well. I cheated, and opened it that day. Everytime I wrap the beautiful scarf around my neck, I will be reminded of my connection to Thao. Please join me as I keep her in my thoughts and prayers.