“I am incredibly thankful and blessed with amazing Angels here on Earth, whom God placed perfectly and timely in my life! Taking my worries, replacing them with nothing less than witnessing miracles happening before my eyes, feeling an all encompassing LOVE surrounding me, providing me with peace, comfort, amazement and gratitude! I love each and every Earthly Angel placed in my life, I am eternally grateful to each of you.”
~Shari Ann Olsen, breast cancer warrior
“God doesn't give us more than we can handle” is a familiar quotation we hear when circumstances seem overwhelming. If that is true, He surely put my survivor sister Norma Pitzer-Kelly to the test in 2010. Not only was Norma diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer that year, but her heartache reaches far beyond that devastating diagnosis.
Norma had great expectations for the year since she would marry her fiancé on January 1st. But after that glorious day things would take a turn in her life that even her worst nightmares could not predict.
In the months to follow Norma would lose both of her parents, her job, her home, her health, and, if that wasn't enough, her husband when he suddenly died in October. As a result she lost custody of the two boys she and her husband had been raising and planning to adopt.
I met Norma at a breast cancer support group in December, and as she shared her story I was speechless. How could one person endure so much in a lifetime let alone a time span of less than one year? It’s unfathomable to most of us. One thing I can say is that Norma has relied on her faith and the support of the angels around her to help get her through.
She has a loving sister, Sunie, to help with medical care and day to day matters and the support of her in-laws who now have custody of her children. Norma's weekly schedule includes time with friends, church bible study groups and regular visits to the Cancer Support Community where she participates in several classes and support groups.
During one of these support group meetings, Norma shared that her health had improved enough that she was able to move into her own place again. She was very optimistic about her new start; however, another unforeseen financial setback would keep her from retrieving her belongings from a local storage facility. Upon hearing of her plight, a fellow support group member, Marcia Fishman-Petersen, offered to help. Over the next few days a small flock of angels was assembled, and at the front was a man named Doug Peters whose wife is a breast cancer survivor. He swiftly arranged for a large truck generously loaned by the Lakewood Ranch Band Boosters. Marcia and her daughter arranged for a few more helper angels, and the plan was set to get things moving.
The day of the move we met another angel, Dick Gregory, the manager of the facility where Norma’s belongings were placed into storage several months earlier. As the father of a breast cancer survivor, his heart went out to Norma and he found a way to help. He arranged for the storage center to provide the space to her at no charge. For someone with a limited income and mounting medical bills this was a great gift.
By the end of the day, Norma’s belongings were moved into her new apartment. In the following weeks, her friends helped empty boxes and put her belongings into their new place in her new home. Norma shares that although 2010 was a hard and heartbreaking year to get through, she is so grateful for all the love, support, and kindness she has also experienced both in 2010 and continuing until today. "I've never felt in such a cocoon of love and protection as I have since my diagnosis. If it hadn't been for that I don't know what I would've done."