Candace's husband's name is Mike, and they have a toddler-aged daughter. Prior to being diagnosed with cancer, Mike had been injured in a work-related accident and was left paralyzed from the waist down. With a lot of determination and God's grace, she said he learned to walk again at the same time their little girl was learning to take her first steps. Candace thinks that she was the perfect motivation that encouraged him to do what doctors had informed them was impossible.
After this great victory, Candace and Mike went to the doctor because he'd been sick all the time and couldn't seem to shake it off. They diagnosed him with colon cancer and now he stays at home with their daughter while she waits tables at the new Chili's restaurant in North Macon. She waitresses full-time and since the restaurant has not been open for a whole year yet, none of the employees have insurance. They have to wait until the restaurant's anniversary in September. So right now, Candace is paying all of her husband's medical expenses out of pocket. If you can't imagine what that cost is like, just one of his prescriptions is $430. He has a lot of prescriptions and chemotheraphy is currently out of the question as you need great insurance and/or $50,000 right off the bat. She said with sincere gratitude, "But we are really lucky that he is healthy enough to stay home and take care of our little girl, because daycare is really not something we can afford right now."
She made it clear to Amy and me that she did not want pity and that she doesn't ever share her personal story beyond explaining the meaning behind her blue ribbon and spreading awareness through her customer interactions about the reality of cancer and young people's vulnerability. We assured her that she did not have our pity, but that in a way her story was incredibly uplifting and that we would spread the word and pray for her and her little family.
If you're in Macon, Georgia in the near future, visit the Chili's on Riverside and ask for Candace. She won't tell you her story unless you ask for it, but she is such an inspiring, uplifting lady to know. Pray for her and for Mike, that they would lean on the Lord during this time of hardship and remember that all we need is in Him, not in our fragile bodies or in the bank.
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On another note, I had the pleasure of accompanying Dan and his fraternity brothers and their dates on a dinner cruise in Destin. It poured rain almost the whole trip down and the bus was leaking the entire time (it rained in the bus for about an hour after the storm had passed), but after we were all dressed and ready to board, the skies were clear and we enjoyed a sunny, windy late afternoon and a beautiful sunset. I don't ever say this, but everything was perfect and romantic.
I loved being dressed up and just enjoying his company and the company of some of our closest friends. The food, music, dancing, and just the atmosphere really made my weekend! True to tradition, we got into a little spat at the very end, but it wasn't enough to ruin the weekend. After we talked it out, he pointed out that every year at this particular formal we have a spat at the very end. Fortunately, he is graduating, so we won't be coming back for Rose Ball anymore and we can avoid that fight! It's strange to think this was our last formal. It's not really sad, since I think we're both ready to move on to whatever God has in store, but it's just another way I'm moving on to different types of fun lately. Graduating and beig old.. I wonder if you ever get used to it.