The strength to inspire

Inspiration can come from many sources.
If you’re blessed enough, you can be related to one.
My sister, Kim, went from one extreme to the other with her health journey, using nothing but sheer determination to turn her life around.
The number of times she tried to quit smoking in the time I knew her almost equaled the number of times she bailed me out of a jam – which is to say, plenty.
Finally, just like I had my revelation on Christmas Eve last year, Kim hit that point in her life where enough was enough.
The cigarettes got tossed in the trash, along with any excuses to let her addiction resurface.
From that day forward, she was the epitome of healthy living.
Kim saw no point in driving somewhere if it could be reached in reasonable time by walking or biking.
While recreation for many consists of TV or talking on the phone or by social media channels, she got her relaxation kicks by kicking up her heels for one of her endless strings of hikes in her local area.
As for nutrition, well, take it from me. There was no point in staying overnight at her place and waking up to anything even closely resembling Frosted Flakes or Froot Loops.
If it wasn’t multigrain cereal or oatmeal, breakfast was an assortment of eggs, cheese, fresh-cut fruit and pretty much any flavour of yogurt you can think of.
And you’ve never seen a pantry so completely devoid of junk food, pop or the like. If it wasn’t nutritious, it wasn’t at Kim’s place.
To turn her life around so dramatically took amazing strength…but I had seen nothing yet.
The day she called me three summers ago to inform me her Stage 4 ovarian cancer had returned after a year and a half in remission was a day and a conversation I’ll never forget.
She wasn’t crying or cursing her luck and she refused to have me do any of the same.
“We aren’t going to blame God and we’re not going to say ‘oh, poor us’,” she vowed.
“We are going to just face what’s coming and we’re going to handle it. OK?”
I agreed through gritted teeth and with watery eyes. Good thing it wasn’t a FaceTime call or I would have been busted for sure.
Kim fought the good fight for the next five months, never complaining despite the pain from the disease and the chemotherapy treatments.
When I got the call on Dec. 15, 2017 that the fight was over, it was incredibly difficult.
But I know she would have chided me in her clear, but gentle way that there’s no sense in wasting the time any of us have.
Fleetwood Mac’s “Songbird” played on my headphones yesterday during my Step Forward afternoon walk – Kim’s first dance at her wedding in Edmonton to her husband, Al Stafford, who took such great care of her through the years.
The eyes got watery again. But I gritted my teeth and smiled, fist bumping the signpost at the entrance to Point Park like she was standing there giving me one back.
I’ll keep going because Kim never stopped being such a guiding light in my life.

Steps taken this week: 99,930
Steps taken overall: 161,746
Money raised this week: $310
Money raised overall for UNFC Food Bank: $1,040
Please go to my Facebook page entitled “Joey Payeur” and look for the Step Forward fundraiser post to donate. Thanks for all your support.