According to data from the US National Cancer Institute, nearly 40% of people will develop cancer. Fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, a chronic condition producing some of the worst pain a human can experience. Brenda Farris has both, yet she is a pillar of spiritual strength and vitality.
In October 2015, Brenda and her husband Larry researched cancer. Larry was considering an investment in diagnostic technology, but Brenda joined in, realizing someone she knew may have that battle ahead. At a demonstration of the diagnostic machine, she volunteered to participate. The results were unexpected—and very clear.
“As soon as you’re on the cancer track,” she explains, “you’re just pushed along.” That early research was a blessing during treatment. “You have to pause a little bit and think.”
With the support of her family, Brenda carefully considered each step in her treatment. Guided by faith and armed with research, she endured two surgeries and ongoing tests. Her cancer was mobile, active in her system, and resistant to chemotherapy. Encouraged by research on drug-resistant cancers’ response to a healthful lifestyle, Brenda increased her effort to treat her struggling body right.
Faith is essential in this path, especially when implementing instruction from section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants. Prophets testify of the Word of Wisdom’s power, and when Brenda turned her focus on the “do” instructions (in addition to the “don’t” items), she leapt forward in her journey. “I don’t believe in miracles. I rely on them,” she says with conviction. She’s quick to say her success didn’t come all at once: “It’s taken 12 years to get where I am. It’s line upon line. Make one change today, and add another thing down the road.”
Those touched by serious illness know support is necessary. This often results in powerful connections, new relationships, and unique opportunities. Brenda lists members of her support team with great love, marveling at the opportunities given her. One lesson she learned: “Everyone is going through something hard. I’m really happy to share my story, and everyone’s story helps me.” Some opportunities have been more public. Her husband Larry won the 2017 Arizona Midday Hometown Hero contest, and they shared the prize with those who support them.
Brenda also enjoys being active. When she ran the Warriors Dash in Oregon this May, her brother, Baron, spent months gearing up Team Brenda. These supporters created a community, helping fund her treatment plan with the purchase of Team Brenda shirts and donations to a GoFundMe campaign.
“I am just so humbled,” she says. “They hadn’t even met me, and they were willing to support and love on me.”
Diseases like cancer and chronic pain conditions can be isolating, and every person’s experience is unique. When asked what people could do to support those struggling, Brenda emphasized how needs can change.
“Be kind,” she explains. “Be patient and give grace.”
If you’d like to donate to Brenda’s GoFundMe Campaign, visit https://www.gofundme.com/HelpTeamBrenda. If you’re interested in purchasing a Team Brenda shirt, leave a comment on the campaign page.
12 News Arizona Midday Hometown Hero Contest – https://www.12news.com/video/entertainment/television/programs/arizona-midday/meet-arizonas-hometown-hero/75-2644740
Warriors Dash, Oregon, May 19th – https://warriordash.com/location/2018-warrior-dash-oregon/