Since the last AGM, I have had the privilege of meeting some truly amazing women like Ivna, Shirley, Seda. All are survivors, all smart, strong and extremely feminine women, and all full of a contagious love of life. During the AGM last week, I discovered yet another inspiring woman whom I now count among the very select list of strong women whom I admire and wish to emulate. Like Ivna, Shirley and Seda, her story is powerful, poignant and full of courage. I will keep her name anonymous and simply say that after defeating cancer, she has taken the courageous step of adopting a child – a child whom she absolutely adores. You should see her eyes sparkle as she describes that moment when her dream of adopting a child became a reality.

This AGM was particularly emotional, and lent a much needed human voice to our organisation, whose daily activities are usually focused on rather dry, and by necessity ‘objective’ and unemotional policy papers. It was a reminder of what we are all about, and I wanted to share with others the amazing stories of all these fabulous women which have given me so much inspiration. Like most people, I have friends who get too easily depressed about the small things of daily life. They think their lives stink, their jobs are boring. They get hung up with the mundane, petty incidents that really, if one thinks about it, should not matter very much. These same friends keep telling me not to tell them about my work as cancer is depressing and it is too sad to hear stories of people affected by cancer.

And yet, during this AGM I realized I never get depressed with these women, these ‘women with cancer’, who are also my friends now. They have not let cancer overtake their lives – they have lived to live beyond it, sometimes (for those whose cancer is incurable) with it, but they have not let it take away their ability to laugh, or make hundreds of plans, or hope, or dream, or do crazy things they just feel like doing! These women are so full of ideas, of positive energy and warmth and as I said, they are extremely feminine – a real inspiration to all women.

 A big THANK YOU to all participants and let’s touch ground soon. We are hoping for many collaborations among ECPC members, cross border projects and a Europe without disparities for cancer patients.

Mihaela Militaru