It was still dark this morning when I picked up Jacque Balbas-Ruddy here in Huntington Beach and we headed down 405 to Newport for the Komen Race for the Cure. Jacque is a breast cancer survivor, but just several days ago she learned the disease had returned. I’d read her words on line the other day, after she shared her diagnosis: “I hope my journey will inspire you to walk through any fear you are facing at this time. Whatever it is, it will be okay. Just don’t let it stop you.” Her words struck me so I reached out to her, we spoke on the phone, and the next morning here we were on the road. She just hums with energy and clarity; a born communicator.
She’s the mother of four and she is a single parent. She is going to school to get a degree in psychology.
And now she is battling cancer. Again.
When we arrive at the event, she is treated like a returning war hero. She has been an advocate, a leader, a teacher and a supporter. Her reputation pulsates all around us. People are drawn to her. She is magnetic. They ask how she is. Bright eyed and smiling, she tells them. “It hasn’t spread. It will be a year of hell but I will be fine.”
With her hot pink wig, superhero cape and Mardi Gras beads, she readies for the race. Her sign says it all. She is her kids’ hero.
She’s now mine, too.
I will be writing more at length about a Surf City mom named Jacque. But after this morning I just wanted share the grace, strength and courage of what I was fortunate enough to have been near – a bright pink ray of hope cutting through the dark, thick mist of morning.