HOW IT ALL BEGAN

THE BEGINNING - MK'S STORY
Fifteen years ago my aunt, MK's, world changed forever after hearing two words - colon cancer.  She was in her mid-thirty's at the time, a grade school teacher with two young boys and suddenly she found herself fighting for her life.
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MK was treated at Cleveland Clinic by a renowned surgeon and underwent long, grueling chemotherapy and radiation.  On the way to one of her treatments, when she was at her worst, a woman stopped her.  She hugged my aunt, who at that point was skin and bones, removed a pendant from around her own neck and placed it in my aunt's hand.  The pendant said "Strength for the Journey."
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The woman explained that the pendant had been worn by many people before her, each in need of strength - some battling cancer like MK, others experiencing infertility, loss, financial trouble and the list goes on - all connected by the pendant she had just placed in MK's palm. 
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As my aunt tells it, the woman said when she saw MK so sick and so clearly in need of strength she was moved to pay the pendant forward.  My aunt said she will never forget that day in the clinic - the kindness of a stranger, the strength the pendant gave her from that day forward, serving as a reminder she could beat this terrible disease, and that's just what she did.
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MK wore the pendant for the next five years until my mom, Tami, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007.  At the time, MK was 5-years cancer free and still wearing the pendant the stranger had given her.  Moved by my mom's diagnosis, MK gave her the pendant, and with it, all the stories of strength of all the people who had worn it before her.
My mom said she drew strength from the pendant throughout her treatment and, a year after her initial diagnosis, was given a clean bill of health.
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From my mom the pendant has traveled around our family, including my sister-in-law who, at the age of 29, was given a 3-5% chance of surviving a very rare form of leukemia.  She did, in fact, survive - saved by a bone marrow transplant, all the while clinging to the hope and strength the pendant brought her.  
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And out of these stories, the Traveling Pendant was born.  The magic happens in the sharing - whether you're the giver or the receiver, the pendant is brought to life through the connection that is created when it is shared.  The pendant connects everyone who has worn it, carrying their stories of strength and inspiring strength each time it is worn, and then shared.

 

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