Cancer. “Something evil or malignant that spreads destructively.” This is the definition given by the Merriam-Webster dictionary. What I want to know is why are so many negative words and feelings associated with a small two-syllable word? What words come to your mind? Anger. Hurt. Confusion. Hair loss. Time. Chemotherapy. Scared. Tumors. Death. The list can go on and on. You can’t deny it. It’s part of being human. But the funny thing about cancer is that it doesn’t always need to be associated with these words. You want to know what comes to my head? Strength. Courage. Faith. God. Hope. Journey.

On January 12th, 2011, a mass was found on Erin Dunmire’s brain. The mass, which was resected on January 14th, turned out to be the size of a lemon. In just a few short days, she was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme. Glioblastoma Multiforme is the most common and most aggressive form of brain cancer one can be diagnosed with. In the elderly, it comes back at an average of 8-16 months. We’re not sure what this means for a healthy 50 year old.

A few months after Erin was diagnosed, her niece, Poppy, came up with the idea to sell bracelets. At first the idea was that the proceeds would go to our local cancer center, the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center in Morgantown, West Virginia. After much discussion, Erin, along with thoughts from her family and friends, decided to open their own fund through the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center.  The fund was ultimately named “Let the Journey Begin,” after Erin’s favorite quote and mindset – “Life is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy the moments.”

All the proceeds Let the Journey Begin makes goes to their research endowment, which was opened in less than a year, and a comfort fund. All proceeds stay in Morgantown, West Virginia. Erin wanted to keep it close to home, while strengthening the research of adult brain cancer at Ruby Memorial Hospital.