My name is Lindsay Rose Smolinski, and I am a cancer survivor in remission since 2013. My mother, Cindy Smolinski, a cancer survivor since 2001 was diagnosed with cancer for the second time in her life in August 2016. The major difference from her first fight, which resulted in a bilateral mastectomy, and her second fight was the added need to treat her cancer with chemotherapy.
Having no context of the use of chemotherapy treatments, other than what I’d seen in the movies and some shared stories ending in fatality, the initial outlook felt bleak. Knowing how strong of a person my mother is, I was left feeling at times encouragingly confident, but sometimes very scared on how the next year of our lives would turn out. I began to question how I could possibly co-exist in the professional life I had worked to build, and still remain close and present for my own mother’s support? You see my mother is a seeker of life, a trait in which I lovingly inherited, but because of that we live on separate coasts making unexpected life events very difficult to be together. As I worked through my thoughts of how I would manage, all I knew was that I needed to be with my mother. I couldn’t imagine the idea of continue my everyday life disconnected from the reality of which was affecting her.
My mother is more than my mother, she is my best friend. I was young when she was first diagnosed with cancer, and at that time in my life I was terrified I would lose my mother. It pained my heart to imagine being a child who had to experience that kind of loss. The battle for her was not easy, but to my fortune the Angels did not take her away from me. What did happed was a beautiful reveal of both our true selves to one another. There was a very particular moment in my mother’s recovery where she was in need of her drain tube to be cleared, and no one was home at the time but myself to help. As she winced and cried from the pain it caused, I no longer saw my mother. I saw a vulnerable person in need of care. And at that moment, I believe, she no longer saw her 13 year old daughter but rather a friend.
Now 17 years later, my mother is back in a position needing that same care and I can’t accept settling with feelings of helplessness. I’ve begun the L.I.V PROJECT as an effort to raise money through donations and product sales to help her maintain a strong financial foundation while caring for her. My hopes in the success of this business stems from the intention of relieving the financial burden that a person living with cancer and their families endure in an already difficult time.
Each candle purchased through the L.I.V PROJECT website will represent the strength in community, and when lit will collectively radiate the optimistic support of recovery.