Keeping the Faith
Each moment of joy or story of pain makes you, you. At Florence Bank, we strive to be there for you, your family, your business and the community. So go ahead and continue to dare to dream, and we’ll focus on bringing your milestones to life. As a local bank, our commitment is to play a part in each of your stories; and it’s a promise we’ll always keep.
Before 2015, Faith’s story was filled with ordinary, beautiful moments that provided her with a happy and fulfilling life. Living right off the bike path in Florence, she spent her free time running on the path and spent her days working for the Education Department at Historic Deerfield. She was the picture of perfect health - which made her breast cancer diagnosis in January of 2015 a shocking reality that was at first hard to accept.
“There were no warning signs… I had no history of cancer in my family,” Faith recalls. She spent that day inundated with helplessness and desperation. Not knowing where to go for help, she remembered seeing a sign for Cancer Connection, a local Northampton based non-profit organization.
“I went into their offices for the first time and said “I have cancer and I don’t know what to do.”’
For the next four months, she regularly utilized the organization’s counseling services, integrated therapy, guided imagery and reiki relaxation therapy.
When she had her mastectomy surgery in May, Nancy Carter Price, her reiki instructor at the Cancer Connection, was kind enough to accompany Faith to the hospital. Nancy sat with her in the pre-op room, pulled the curtains around her space and performed one last reiki relaxation therapy prior to her surgery. Faith credits the therapy as being “one of the sustaining things that helped me go through that surgery and heal and recover so well.”
Faith pressed on with her life as a cancer survivor and worked each day to build up her strength. However, her recovery was interrupted the following spring when she began to experience “frozen shoulder” syndrome which sometimes affects mastectomy patients who have their lymph nodes removed.
This time, she knew exactly where to go for guidance and help. She walked into the Cancer Connection that afternoon knowing they would be able to provide her with continued support throughout her journey to recovery. “It was such a relief just knowing they had all of these services and offered them so openly, warmly and with grace,” Faith recalls.
Soon her frozen shoulder pain was under control and Faith was able to focus on getting strong enough to get back to the activities she loved. She recounts, “It’s wonderful that we have a bike path so easily accessible to us and seeing the path every day is what motivated me to start running again.”
Faith dipped her toe back into the water by running the Bridge of Flowers 10k to help benefit the Cancer Connection in 2017 and was also a monitor at their Mother’s Day Half Marathon last May. After monitoring the marathon, she set her sights on running and completing the same race a year later in May 2018. Faith recounts, “When you have cancer, it’s important to set goals for yourself. Cancer Connection helped me meet my goals.”
And indeed she did. In May 2018, Faith ran and completed her first ever half marathon. “As I crossed a small bridge leading to the finish line, I was overcome with emotion. I was exhausted and exhilarated. There were about 300-400 people running along the course in Whately and Hatfield. It was such a great spirit of comradery and it really motivated me to keep pushing forward to the finish line,” she remembers.
When asked if she had any pivotal advice for those who may be experiencing a similar time of hardship Faith shared, “My cancer journey made me realize that we live in such a unique and wonderful area with so many helpful services and people that are full of compassion. I have friends from all over the country and sadly some of my friends didn’t receive any kind of the services I did upon my diagnosis.”
She then poignantly added, “My advice is to not be afraid to reach out for help. Help and people with compassion are there to support you. I have made so many friends throughout my cancer journey and it completely broadened my mind about how vital compassion is in the world. Take time to talk about your story.”
Learn more about our Moments from the Valley campaign by visiting www.florencebank.com/moments
Florence Bank wants to hear how your milestone stories have helped shape your life for the better. Share your defining moments by reaching out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org