Brave Blog Inaugural Post

May 12, 2016 Holly Porath

Two years ago today, cancer stole my best Mom.

While I could talk forever about those days, hours, minutes and seconds, I would really like to take a step back and look at where I find myself two years later. Of course, this day stings more than most. And those who have been through it know that every day stings. I wish with every part of my being I could call my Mom, that I could hear her voice one more time, that I could feel her arms wrap around me. It's a loss so profound, there are no words to convey. 

But I've always felt it's really not about the cards you're's about how you play your hand. After watching my Mom go through years of treatment only to lose her battle, I often had friends tell me "you're doing so well with this, you're so strong". First of all, clearly, they had not and do not see my weak moments...tearful phone calls to best friends, crying in the middle of a crowded bar, or needing to leave work just because she had more bad news from the doctor.

But at the end of the day, I have always said that I have two choices. I can either curl up into a ball, feel sorry for myself and pout about the incredible unfairness of how fate picked my Mom out of all the people on this earth. OR I can make the best of the situation and turn some of this awfulness into good.

Two years later, Brave Box is now a real, tangible, product that eases the discomfort of those still fighting. It was only an idea less than six years ago when my Mom was first diagnosed. For four years, I thought about ways I could ease her struggle. Every part of me wanted to take away her suffering. I took note of her favorite products, the items that brought her comfort. Then, finally, about six months ago, I took the plunge. I built up the courage, ignored all the reasons why it wouldn't work, brainstormed a name, designed a box, built my own website and ordered in bulk. Now here we are. Two years ago today, my world was crashing down. Today, I'm in a MUCH better spot, hoping to provide a presence (through a box, through this blog, through community involvement) that allows me to help as many people afflicted by cancer as possible.

I hope moving forward, this blog serves as a place of knowledge and inspiration, not only for those fighting cancer but also for those who want to know how they can help. It's incredibly easy to feel helpless when watching a loved one fight this disease. Let's work together, as a team, to take some of that helplessness away and bring back some strength to the fight. 

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  • Laura Nagel

    Jul 24, 2016

    Hi Holly—
    I have some common ground with you. I went to Eisenhower with your mom and remember her well. Like her, I worked in dentistry (as an assistant—not a hygienist like she was though) after getting my degree at Delta. My mother went through cancer, but she actually had it twice. The first episode was lung cancer when I was a senior in high school. Turns out the solvent she had been using to strip and refinish antique furniture they now know is carcinogenic. She went through treatment with success and had been cancer-free for 14 years. Then she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The doctors said there was no link between the two cancers since she had been cleared of it for so many years. Unfortunately after a year of treatment, she passed away at the age of 58. As you know, your world will never seem right again but you try to keep going despite it all and at times it’s quite a struggle. I can tell you that time does helps somewhat by taking the edge off of the pain since you kind of get used to them not being there, but it also deepens the amount you miss them the longer it’s been since you’ve seen them last. Sometimes it feels like forever. Still overwhelming for me at times and it’s been 23 years and 10 months since my mom died. Yes, we were blessed to have such a wonderful parent for as long as we did. And we know we don’t actually have a right to feel bad because we do know that some people never had such phenomenal mothers as ours and others had moms as wonderful but for even less time. But our mothers are the biggest fan we will ever have in our life and no one will ever love us in the same way as our very own mom. So even though they live on in our hearts and will ever be in our memories, we will miss them in a very special and important way forever.

  • Kathy Serra

    Jun 20, 2016

    Holly May God bless your life with calmness, happiness, laughter, and most importantly Love. It broke my heart in a million pieces that I lost contact w/ your mom after Amanda graduated. We had to move shortly there after because Mark brother was dying from cancer and got pneumonia on top of that. His mom visited and within days she and I both got pneumonia. He blamed himself that should his mom pass away it would be his fault. They past away 23 days apart from one another. I had just lost my mom to luekemia and know all to well how difficult this road is to travel. God bless you. May your life be filled with more happiness, more love and more people that will help you through the crappy days.

  • Dan Bourcier

    May 13, 2016

    Dear Holly,
    I haven’t had the privilege of meeting you yet, but I can see that you are a giver like your Mom. Marsha was a very special lady, very genuine, and was popular in school because of her kindness and her willingness to be involved. We were on House Council together for 4 years, did a play or two together, coordinated Senior Class ski trip to Colorado, and we competed in Forensics together. Many funny stories and laughs on the many trips and events.

    What a great idea you have come up with, and now what a great project that is coming to fruition! Wishing you every success in this noble and deserving enterprise Holly, and hoping to meet you in person one day. If any of my piano music, including the song “Marsha Smiles” can be used as background for a website or other use, I’m happy to help. All the best to you and your family always.
    Dan Bourcier

  • Tammi Hollis

    May 13, 2016

    Holly, your Mom was one of the kindest, sweetest and the most caring people I’ve ever met. It didn’t matter who you were or what your popularity status was, she always had a kind word and smile for everyone she encountered. Rest in peace dear Marsha and kudos to you Holly for this wonderful blog post and keeping your Mom’s legacy alive!

  • Lynn Jovick

    May 12, 2016

    Holly I am so sorry to hear about your mom.. May this vehicle gather a strong team of women and men to help spread the love and light of never being alone – and help everyone who follows this blog to know that. There is always one or many of us who will listen and offer support whether it’s to hold a hand (virtually) or send a prayer.. ❤️

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