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"Just Read It"
by: Laura Kelly
A couple of months before Thanksgiving 2004, I completed my last chemotherapy treatment after a two-year battle with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. My prognosis was positive from the beginning and my tumor disappeared five months after I began treatments. I was in remission, but I was still scared. if cancer does come back, it usually comes back within the first five years after completing treatment. That thought always lingered in the back of my mind. Even worse, I didn't think I had the strength to go through it all again.
I was 16 years old.
For Thanksgiving 2004, my parents drove my three younger siblings and me to Bronson, Missouri for a long weekend of go-carts, Silver Dollar City, and a Thanksgiving feast. We hooked up a small TV/VCR combo in my dad's conversion van so we could watch movies on the way. When it was his turn, my youngest brother, Charlie, chose "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban."
The rest of us groaned. "Another 'Harry Potter' movie?" But it was Charlie's turn and he insisted. We had no choice.
I had seen the first two Potter films, but had never read the books. Maybe it was the boring Missouri scenery or the fact that the third film was so unlike the first two, but I was intrigued. I kept asking questions. Charlie grew more and more irritated as I continued to question what was going on in the film. Every explanation ended with, "It's in the book."
By the time we got to the condo on Table Rock Lake, Charlie threw his copy Prisoner of Azkaban at me and said, "Just read it!"
The rest, as they say, is history. I was hooked. After reading Book 3, I went back and read all five in a row. i was one of the first people in line at my local Barnes & Noble to buy Book 6 at midnight in July 2005.
But I was one year into remission and my fear of my cancer's return still lingered. At the same time, I was facing the inevitable end of my lightening-scarred hero. The theories and speculations of whether Harry would die in Book 7 were in full swing. When Deathly Hallows was finally released, it was "The Tale of the Three Brothers" that made me realize a profound truth.
"And then (the third brother) greeted Death as an old friend, and went with him gladly, and, equals, they departed this life."
The three years I spent dwelling on the possibility that my cancer could come back had been exhausting. After reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I felt like the wight had lifted. As of June 20, 2011, I have been cancer-free for seven years. I no longer carry the fear of my cancer returning, nor do I fear the possibility of death - by cancer or otherwise.
I know that when the time comes, like Harry, I too will greet death as an equal.
Until then, Mischief Managed!
Read the other Finalists here: Finalist 1 | Finalist 2 | Finalist 3 | Finalist 5
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