“The struggle of life is one of our greatest blessings. It makes us patient, sensitive, and Godlike. It teaches us that although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” – Helen Keller
Annie spent most of her life living in an institution. Moving into a Christian Horizons’ home in the early 90s was a difficult transition for her, opening up an entirely different way of living.
Annie lived in a supported independent living apartment with a number of different roommates over the years. She connected very strongly with one particular roommate who showed her a kind of love and acceptance that Annie had never experienced before. This friendship transformed Annie’s life and how she connected with the world around her.
In 2014, Annie was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. At the same time, her dear friend also became very ill. Despite her own health challenges, Annie showed tremendous support and compassion to her friend. When her friend passed away, Annie wanted to speak at the funeral, sharing about their friendship with one another, even though Annie was still in the midst of her own treatment.
As Annie continues to fight this illness, she refuses to let it take away her power. She went through eight months of chemotherapy, and even when her hair started falling out, even when it had all fallen out, she refused to give up. She kept climbing up her mountain. She advocates for herself and makes her own decisions. She knows what she does and does not want. When she attends her cancer classes, she knows exactly where to go and what to do. She has found a place of belonging, building relationships with others attending treatment and with all of the nurses, including one person who used to work at the institution where she used to live. Her courage and conviction to lead her own life and to overcome whatever hurdles are in her way is an inspiration.