George, Curiously


I remember being in the hospital after my diagnosis.  They told me I had leukemia. The word was strange, I knew it was something kids got, and here I was otherwise healthy, and 30. It made no sense. It was like being told that my inner child got cancer.

I soon realized that medicine alone was not going to be my only tool to get through this. I needed a team, an Army of Love to help me. Asking for help can be tough. I’ve spent my young adult life dependent on my family and finally I was on my own and thrown back to needing help with sometimes very basic tasks.  That first night in the hospital, I was so alone. I sat with this information by myself, for one night. This is really happening, I thought. It’s big, and it’s bad.  What am I going to do about it?I woke up strangely calm, with this new information and the start of a plan to live through this. I knew that first night of being alone with my cancer would be my last night of being alone with my cancer.  Nurses and Doctors would be working with me, and friends and family and the bigger cancer community online and in my city.

So who is in your Army?

I joined a wellness center that helped people with life threatening illnesses. There I got a lot, everything from healthy meals,  massages, Reiki, even an amazing counselor who helped me out in dark times.

At my cancer center there was a meditation course, gentle yoga and a young women networking group.

I joined the online cancer community and talked Leukemia with people all around the world.

When I was in treatment, I lived at the hospital for a few months. The nurses called my room “The Salon”, because there were so many visitors, a lot of whom work in comedy. There was laughter and music alongside chemo. We were laughing in the face of death. I knew that if I was going to die, I would die laughing.

First Descents was there for me too. Post treatment, out living it, with this big elephant in the room. Everyone else there participating had their own elephant, and we rode down the river in our kayaks together, elephants splashing in the water with their other elephant friends.

So please, stretch out your arm and get a team going. Use that cancer card to get you everything you can, from online support to yoga classes to free t-shirts.

You deserve it, you are worth it!


Tell me about your team! Write me a poem! Draw me a picture! Tweet me and Facebook me, and know that I am now part of your Army of Love.


Marjorie ”George” Malpass is a writer, actor and corporate trainer based out of Toronto, Canada, who spent a week Kayaking with FD the summer of 2012. She was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) at 30. She is currently not dead from cancer and will probably die from something else.

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