“Every once in a while, a person enters our life and remains in our heart forever.”

Recently I met such a man, and he will remain in my heart forever.  Why? Because even though he is battling cancer, he reaches out and is helping other individuals who have cancer. He, (let’s call him “Scott,”) initiated the formation of a club called the “Wallflowers Cancer Club.” I believe that he chose this name because he is an introvert, and other introverts seem to connect with him.

Scott was diagnosed with high-risk cancer a year and a half ago, and shortly thereafter, a man in California with the same kind of cancer read Scott’s blogs and made a contact. Scott asked this California man, if he would like to talk via Zoom twice a month, and much to Scott’s surprise, the stranger said, “Yes.” Also, surprisingly three other cancer patients also said, “Yes.”  So, the Wallflowers Cancer Club was born.

The club meets twice a month, via Zoom, and the members share, if they wish, their responses to the following questions*:

  • Who are you?  What kind of cancer do you have? How long have you known?
  • What has been the best part of your week so far?
  • During the past week, have you moved backward or forward? Why?
  • During the next 7 days, what are you most anxious about?
  • In the next 30 days, what are you looking forward to?
  • Open ended: What else would you like to share?

Scott also said there are only two Ground Rules:

  1. No unsolicited advice.  (Advice allowed in Open Ended time.)
  2. Limit stories, situation, comments, advice to 2 minutes or less.

When I asked Scott why he thinks that these four individuals keep choosing to participate in this club, he said, “I don’t know.” I suggested that perhaps it was because Scott offers them a safe place to name their struggles and thoughts. The members of the club feel heard and valued.

Too often cancer patients feel a need to tell people what they think people want to hear (namely, only “upbeat” or “carrying on bravely” news) rather than the more difficult stories that cancer brings.

Isn’t it a joy to meet individuals like Scott who transform some of their personal pain and struggles into ways to care for others? I am so proud to know and love and be inspired by Scott whose actual name is Jeffrey Scott Mulder, who is my son. Jeff has multiple myeloma. Read about Jeff’s cancer journey on his blog “Option B.”

Yes, Jeff entered my life 57 years ago and remains in my heart forever.     

*Many of these questions are also appropriate and helpful questions to ask any person who is suffering or going through a challenging time.

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder is the founder of the Wisdom of the Wounded ministry. She lives in Holland, Michigan with her husband Larry.


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