Old News Archive

Tara (Hayes) Lilly : Speaking at Alfond Center Opening

September 08, 2007 - TRC

My name is Tara Lilly and I am 31 years old. I am a mother of 4 children, ages 6, 4, 3, and 1 and I love it…every second of it ! At a time in our life when my husband and I were starting to wonder if we should have another baby, we learned that something very different from a baby was growing inside of me. This time it was cancer—a very aggressive, insidious, and unique cancer that had already metastasized to my liver and salt and peppered it with tumors…too many to count. That was on April 30th. I have always felt, in my heart, that being a mother is my mission in life…God’s plan for me. That came easy to me. Now I have begun to see that I have been presented with another mission, and that is to somehow make a difference in this world with cancer. This mission is much harder and is still being revealed to me by the Almighty God. But in the meantime, I am inspired and humbled by the people making a difference in my life. People like Mr. Harold Alfond, who has given so much to his community and whose center allows me to start my treatment close to my home and my beloved family and my community and feel all their support and prayers. And it’s comfortable and beautiful and not scary for the children.

I am inspired and humbled also by the smaller contributions that people have made to me and my family. Members of our church, work, and school communities have made meals for our family, donated quilts for the children, and offered support around the house. I have received so many blessings from strangers who recognize that I am bald and have cancer and they share their own story with me, offer prayers for me, scream out encouraging words like, “Don’t ever give up the fight !”, and even stop to help me change a flat tire as I travel to another doctor appointment. I see these people as my angels here on earth…the voices of God uplifting me from sinking into the depths of despair that this disease can bring.

I want to encourage everyone today to be inspired by Mr. Harold Alfond and share in the spirit of service and giving. If you are someone who is in a position right now to give, give of yourself …your time and your talent. Participate in someone’s journey ! Share human relationships ! Have the courage to reach out, offer a kind word, a prayer, or a hug. I promise you that you will be making a big difference in someone’s life and you will be blessed for doing so. You really can make a difference.

I also want to encourage those who are in the position to receive today. As I have learned on this journey, sometimes it is harder to receive than it is to give. So, if you are someone, like me, who needs to receive right now…open yourself to it. Be public ! Be real ! Be weak ! Share your struggles ! Receive this beautiful center and the beautiful and caring people that work in it !

And, stay tuned to my story because the end is not yet written. I plan on running this race with perseverance, looking to the cross for strength, drawing upon the strength of the people around me, and beating this cancer. I will be giving back to my community, serving God, and those in need for many more years to come.

As a matter of fact, I wanted to start today and PERSONALLY add to the spirit of giving with a very small gesture for someone who I feel needs to be served right now…our own Doctor Hertler. The children have cooked bread for you and your family. We hope it brings you some comfort in your time of need. Thank you everyone for your time today.

(Aside: Doctor Hertler is Tara’s doctor who broke both of his wrists in a horseback riding accident less than a week before the opening.)

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.