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Tenaciously Teal (T. Teal) grew out of my love for fellow cancer fighters in the chemo room. I delivered care packs faithfully for sixteen months before T. Teal was formalized into a 501c3 nonprofit. After we became official, with direction from our Board of Directors, we began expanding to other treatment centers. Of course I continued to deliver care packs and trained new volunteers, but ever so surely my job became less about the personal connections made on a care pack run and more about running a business.

Running a business was never the plan or trajectory I had anticipated for my life. I spent almost ten years working for Child Welfare, and six of those years were spent as a case manager. Essentially I worked in the “trenches” and one-on-one with families in need every day. It was hard, but it was were my heart lied, with the people. See I have always wanted to help people, which I believe is a reason why T. Teal has grown so organically. It is meeting a real need and we are an organization with a desire to help and love others.

To get my fix of loving people I somewhat selfishly have kept a small cancer treatment center (with only 10 chemo chairs) as a place I can go and deliver care packs and stay connected with the frontlines of the ministry. Lately I’ve thought that I need to pass this treatment center off to a volunteer, because we have a welcomed problem of staying really busy. Nevertheless I planned to see our monthly deliveries through August and carved out some time Thursday morning. As I left the office yesterday I loaded up care packs in my car for the next morning and headed to my next appointment. I planned to arrive early to get caught up on emails that had flooded my inbox, and was feeling really good about the planned sit down time to focus on some replies.

The moment I got in my car I felt this tug in my heart. My heart was telling me I needed to go to that little treatment center right now and forget about the emails. My brain promptly told me “no Tarah, you really need to get caught up” and then my heart said “someone is there that needs to see you”. Somewhat unconsciously I followed my heart and pulled up to the little treatment center and grabbed the care packs.

I walked in to see a young lady sitting by herself who told me she was waiting on someone receiving chemo. I smiled and walked over to a man in the corner by himself who immediately began looking through the care pack with excitement and a few “wows”. I then ventured to a woman named Marilyn who’s fighting Multiple Myeloma.  Marilyn and I found ourselves in a long conversation. She was interested in my story and I was interested in hers, and we are both believers so we talked about our faith. As we hugged good bye my eyes caught the young lady still sitting by herself behind Marilyn and I, but she now had tears running down her cheeks. I turned to pat her on the back and ask if she was ok. The gentle touch seemed to cause the tears to flood, and in a muffled voice she said “I am so scared. My mom is back there and fighting Stage IV cancer”. The tears flooded out even more and in that moment the man in the corner began hobbling over to us ever so slowly to put his arms around the young lady. I’ve learned in my 34 years of life that sometimes you’re just not going to have the right words to say, and in those moments the best thing you can do is pray. I asked if I could pray over her and she willingly accepted the offer. So this man from the corner, myself, and a tearful daughter bowed our heads in the middle of the waiting room and prayed. It was a powerful moment that words can’t appropriately describe, but it was obvious to all three of us that there was a sense of peace in the room as we opened our eyes to embrace one another.

As I said goodbye to the young daughter, I said “you were the reason I was supposed to come here today. God told me there was someone I needed to see and I believe it was you”.


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