There are days when I feel like a failure — I signed up for a half marathon. But, because I haven’t run more than 4 miles in 2 months, I decided I am withdrawing. And, I am feeling like a failure. I’m struggling with confidence in my school. Struggling with my body image. Struggling with my time, being good enough, and with my life.

But, then this comes along.

I asked Joli to write about her Survivor Day, and this is what she emailed to me. I am including it exactly as she sent it.

THIS IS THE POWER OF JOLI. She makes everything right in this world. I read it and felt happy. I read it and felt proud. I read it and felt Blessed. Grateful. Humbled. Warm. She brings light. She brings perspective. And all she ever asks in return is that you do the same for someone else.

Marathon B4 Mastectomy is pleased to invite guest blogger Joli V. to write today’s post. Joli is a survivor of childhood retinoblastoma, and today, August 18th is her Survivor Day — the day when her body was freed from cancer.  These are her words:


Once a year there is a day when I feel really lucky. That day is August 18th. That luck is the luck of being alive. I remember it was August 17th when the doctor found out I had a tumor in my eye. They said I had to remove my eye and replace it with a prosthetic. It took about 12 hours until my surgery was finished. My family’s worries had stopped. It was August 18th and I was so happy to see the sun and moon, I was so glad to see my family. It was hard getting use to seeing with one eye but now that I’ve been doing it for 8 years I forgot what it was like seeing with two eyes. I sometimes wonder what it looks like with two eyes. Now I am ten living with my siblings and my wonderful mom until my dad gets home from NY. I am a normal girl with no more chemo and no more worries. I am a survivor and I will always know.


We love you Joli. And, because of your kindness, compassion, wisdom, strength, courage and bravery, we are all lucky to be a part of your life, too. 

Peace, love, and happy Survivor Day,


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  1. Your wonderful wonderful girl !!!!! She is brilliant!!!
    Love you all-

  2. Anne Erde says:

    LIza, what a gift Joli is to you, and, by extension, to all of us. She has a lot to teach us. And you are a superwoman with or without a marathon. Looking forward to catching up with you some Fri. at UMB. My class is over at 11.
    Abrazos fuertes,

  3. jleavey says:

    Joli, I may have just met you this summer, but you inspired me so much, and I just want to let you know that. You are one of the strongest, most kick-butt people I know, and you are only 10! You have so much more butt-kicking to do. Thanks for sharing this–you make me smile!

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