Just over a year ago, days after she walked across the stage at her college graduation, my closest friend was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Stage 4. She was 23. It wasn’t certain whether she’d make it to 24.

For the next six months, she endured pain in search of healing, had few days of hope, and too many spent in the hospital. But amazingly, just days before her 24th birthday, her scan came back without any evidence of disease. Clear. It was more than a small miracle.

Her doctors at the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center worked tirelessly to fight a disease that seemed unbeatable. And she refused to quit. She didn’t have to travel hundreds or thousands of miles for treatment — she just drove 10 minutes down the road and could sleep in her own bed at night. It made all the difference.

Maybe you’ve also seen your friend fight through an illness, maybe it was your parent, your spouse or, maybe, it was you. We all have experience with the tumultuous storms illnesses can bring upon us, and during these times there’s an ounce of comfort in knowing that excellent healthcare is just minutes away.

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