My name is Gianna Lombardi and I am a cancer fighter. I have not and do not have cancer and I cannot speak for those who do, but I am a cancer fighter.
Cancer has never been at play in my life until I got to college. When searching for an internship to work and gain experience in communication and event planning I found Epic Experience at my schools career fair. Having never been around anyone with cancer in my life and being very uneducated about it I was nervous to be working for a cancer non-profit, but excited for the opportunity. Epic Experience holds week long outdoor adventure camps for adult cancer fighters and survivors in the Rocky Mountains. The main goal of this camp to teach fighters and survivors that the can live BEYOND cancer! They can white water kayaks, do yoga, horse back ride and many more amazingly fun activities with the worries and reminders of their cancer forgotten and overcome while at camp. After attending camp and listening to these campers stories, struggles and hope, I was no longer afraid of cancer. It is cancer that should be afraid of these brace and astounding fighters…
I fell in love with the people and the culture of cancer, though it is a malicious and cruel disease, I have seen more hope, adventure, fearlessness, bravery, fun, and above all, love, than any other place of work I have been exposed to. I knew this is where my passion, my heart, and my career would be for the rest of my life. And I am so thankful to Epic Experience, Nancy and Colin Ferro and the cancer support groups and what they do for others.
A year later in my junior year of college my lacrosse team at Regis University was paired with a program called Team Impact. This program matches children with life-threatening illnesses to college sport teams. My life was forever changed on February 24th, 2014 when Daisy Walsh , 7 (now 9 years old) became my new team member. Daisy has brain and spine cancer and has relapsed twice, but has defied all odds. Her cancer is usually only treatable once and if replacing a second time, there is no cure and usually no response to treatment. The still is no cure for her cancer, and she is still fighting, but has made it through her second relapse with her treatments slowing her cancer growth. She will not be cancer free, but we always have hope that one day there will be a cure, always.
To help fight this cure, there is St. Baldricks, a children’s cancer research foundation. Their work and funds raised to help research cancer directly related to children’s cancer is crucial. Only 4% of national cancer research funding goes to research for children’s cancers. The St. Bald ricks events were created to raise this money and are volunteer run! These volunteers are also crucial to this amazing foundation!
I decided to shave my head after a conversation I had with my dear little friend, teammate, and sister Daisy one morning during her chemo treatment at the hospital. What was left of Daisy’s fine, delicate, and beautiful black hair was falling out and her mom, Natalie, suggested she just shave her head as to not having to worry about the mess it was causing. Daisy rejected the idea in fear of what being bald would mean; she feared being made fun of at school and after losing so much control of her own body, cancer could not take her hair too. This made me realize how much I took my hair for granted, and how I wanted to show Daisy that you can still be stunningly beautiful, feminine, and in control of your body. For me, I was thankful that I had the choice to shave my head losing all 24+ inches of my dark, long hair. For Daisy and many cancer fighters, there in no choice, just dealing with the shots cancer continuously blows at you.
I feel so honored to represent Daisy, childhood cancer research, and cancer fighters with a bald head. I have the pleasure of being a walking representative to help raise more awareness for this malicious and cruel disease. I LOVE my bald head. I feel liberated, confident, admired, brave, beautiful, striking, respected, grateful, sexy, free, and responsible more so than I ever did with hair. I am a woman of the Lord, a daughter, a friend, an employee, a sister, a best friend, and though I am not a cancer survivor, I am a cancer fighter and will continue to fight it with all my heart and none of my hair proudly and shamelessly. #morethan4 #hopefordaisy #nohairdontcare #BALDISBEAUTIFUL
Gianna M. Lombardi