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A couple of weeks ago, I walked into my office after a long morning meeting and found my favorite cup of coffee waiting for me by my computer. It was perfect timing, and such an unexpected treat! This small gesture had just made my day so much brighter.
Later that week, I was in line waiting for my turn to order lunch and the woman just ahead of me was searching for an additional 50 cents to pay for her order — I happily reached into my coin purse and shared 2 quarters with her.
She went from being stressed to having a big smile on her face and thanked me for the kindness. She then asked how she could get the money back to me, and I said, "No need to pay me back, just pay it forward."
In my work at Mayo Clinic, I see beautiful and random acts of kindness every day between patients, staff and family members.
Patients helping other patients who are in need of assistance; staff making extra effort to make patients who don't feel well more comfortable as they wait for appointments; and the friendly smiles you see as you arrive to a full elevator and everyone makes room for one more.
As a cancer survivor, I hope you've experienced a few random acts of kindness. Maybe it was the neighbor who offered to help with shopping; flowers that arrived unexpectedly; a batch of your favorite cookies delivered just when you needed them; or another survivor who said just the right thing to make you feel that you aren't alone in your journey.
I'd love for you to share these random moments with each other on the blog — and then think about what an impact it would have on someone else to pay it forward.
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
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I agree that a little kindness can go a long way when someone is stressed out. I have been in treatment for 6 1/2 years for endometrial CA w/mets to lung and liver. I was in the chemo chair receiving treatment when "Marsha" came in crying and sat next to me. I wasn't sure whether she wanted to be alone or not. I sent up a quick prayer for direction. I was crocheting a baby blanket for the demise babies at the hospital. She asked me what I was crocheting and I told her. She then shared that her doctor had told her she had less than a year to live. I said that I didn't think that we were born with an expiration date stamped on the bottom of our feet and that doctors do their best to make an estimate. Many people live far beyond a doctor's estimate and I shared a story about someone who outlived their doctor's estimate by 5 years. We chatted a bit more and then fell silent. A few moments later, she thanked me for distracting her and encouraging her. Our paths never crossed again. Nancy
I'm a firm believer in Pay It Forward since seeing the movie that started the movement. You can never be too kind or too helpful to someone. Yesterday I went to the doctor and there was this elderly lady who looked confused standing there staring at the front door. As she was just dropped off by her husband ahead of me, I asked her if I could help? My mama said I never met a stranger as a child because I talked to everyone no matter who they were. Both a good and bad trait as it's landed me in trouble a few times but I can't recall a time when a senior adult wasn't put off by having a friendly chat while we wait for our rides. Being disabled I meet a variety of people. This particular lady you could tell was getting stressful and upset over something but I didn't know what it was. It was the doors. The building is brand new and she's use to the doors opening when you walk up to them or having a button to mash and they open. It did have a button but it was rectangular and not on a pole like many other buildings in town but on the actual door facing. I told her "if it was a snake it woulda bit you" and pressed the button for her. That made her laugh and she seemed less stressed. A simple button, a smile and a joke. Took what maybe 5 seconds of my time to help someone else? The more you do it the easier and more natural it is and you will find yourself doing it alot more often. It didn't cost me a thing to help her out but it meant the world to her and she profusely thanked me over and over as I sat with her until her husband came in and took over. Sweet couple. Hope my husband and I are blessed to live that long together *smile*
Years ago when I was taking my son to Los Angeles to see his cancer doctor, the road (Hwy 101) got washed out and we were stranded overnight at a little inn in the woods. We were the last ones lucky enough to get a room. I was talking to a woman before dinner about my son, then we split. My son and I went to dinner. When I tried to pay the bill, the waitress said, "Oh your bill has already been paid by a woman who just left." I looked for her but never found her to say thank-you. I have never forgotten that little act of kindness.
I try to pay it forward every day. Even though I am going through my fourth recurrence of ovarian cancer, I still find the energy and time to help other women with cancer by volunteering at two local women's cancer support groups. I am the Ovarian Cancer Liaison at one, Breast Friends. People seem to be extra kind to someone they can see has cancer. (My bald head gives me away!)
During our walks my husband and I would often run into this friendly lady and her large furry dog from our neighborhood. Over time, we got past the simple greetings and she found out I was going through chemo and radiation for breast cancer.
Imagine my delight when she told me that since her dog was so large, she needed to walk her dog twice a day and that she purposefully planned to walk next to our home, so she could pray for me.
Not only that - during one of my tougher chemo times - she left on my front porch a pot of my favorite flowers. (I had not told her about my taste in flowers!) Mary Ann is a true gem.
I'm a breast cancer survivor. I'm one of those patients that wasn't told any options just do what I say. I have since changed doctor's to a very nice and understanding doctor. I feel she is the best breast surgeon in Tulsa. I volunteer for Susan G. Komen, we make small pillows for our newly dx people to fit their seat beats. I also make bookmarkers and put ribbons on a notebook so the newly dx people will have something to take notes and write down their questions for their next appointment. We give 5 bags @ month to 4 doctors so in order to make more people feel special and that someone cares about them I send my breast doctor approx. 40 - 50 bookmarkers a month for all of her patients.
The gas station I use is located next to a wonderful bakery. Sometimes I will get $15.00 worth of gas and pay with a $20.00 bill. The look on the attendant's face when I say to keep the change and get an ice coffee (in summer) or a hot chocolate (in winter) is priceless!
I am raising my 12 yr. old son alone & I am teaching him to be a very caring & compassionate person! We don't have much ourselves but we saw a women holding a sign saying that she needed food or money for food & we grabbed a couple dollars of loose change & gave it to her! It makes you feel good to know that you helped a person ( no matter how small the gesture )
I like to give family, friends and coworkers extra produce I have grown in my garden. I always give out smiles everyday!
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