41: Surviving cancer and finding one’s purpose with Becky Olson

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No matter who you are or where you live, chances are breast cancer will touch your life.

Nearly 270,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women in the U.S. alone each year, according to the American Cancer Society.

And as progress in treatment and early detection has led to improved survival, there are now more than 3.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S.—more than any other group of cancer survivors.

If anyone knows what it takes to survive, it’s Becky Olson.

Becky is in her fifth battle with breast cancer and is living proof that we can change people’s lives with our words.

As the co-founder of Breast Friends, Becky has offered hope and inspiration to women for more than 20 years—encouraging and supporting them in their own battles and educating family and friends as well. She is a frequent public speaker on the topic and hosts a weekly radio podcast on Voice America.

And she will be the first to tell you, going through cancer is hard and being alone can be the worst part. That’s why her nonprofit is out to help women survive the trauma of it all one friend at a time.

Her message is one of “staying in the light” and, as you’ll hear, she has her own formula for finding our purpose and doing exactly that.

So whether you are fighting cancer or wanting to be a good friend to someone who is, Becky is sure to be your new go-to for inspiration.

Show highlights include:

  • Becky’s diagnosis: Self-breast test revealed fibrous tissue that years later turned into breast cancer.
  • Breast cancer survivor: It’s not what you survive, but how you survive that tells your story and God’s role.
  • How is Becky getting through it? She’s been blessed with breast cancer for a reason and purpose.
  • Becky’s battle reveals inner strengths: During good and bad times, she’s stronger than she ever realized.
  • Standard of care stage: No longer about survival, but slowing cancer down to live longer.
  • Breast Friends: Goal is to educate patients, family and friends on how to ask for and offer support.
  • Breast Friends Cancer Support Radio: Podcast features various guests, including doctors, survivors and others that share information and stories.
  • How has cancer changed Becky’s faith? Made it stronger because she is now more reliant on God.
  • How are you, really? Staying in the light and living with purpose.
  • Purpose formula: Your gift + your passion = your purpose.
  • How to be a good friend? Stay connected, be there for them and listen when you don’t know what to say.

Good words from Becky Olson in this show:

[03:47] “I knew it was there. I knew it was fibrous tissue, and I choose not to worry about it, like the doctor said. But that was a mistake.”

[05:36] “As you’re telling what you’ve gone through, don’t forget to tell the story of how you got through it. That’s the bottom line.”

[10:31] “When things become a challenge and life gets tough, and things aren’t going smoothly, how do we respond to that?”

[12:01] “It’s not necessarily about survival now. It’s about how I’m going to live the rest of my life.”

Additional resources:

Download this episode wherever you get your podcasts. Find show notes for this episode and more at caringmagazine.org/podcast. Connect with Becky Olson via Breast Friends

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