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Fight Like a Girl

taking the gloves off in the battle of their lives

(page 2 of 5)




EXPRESSIONS of solidarity come in many forms. They can be as simple as a kind word, a hug, or a perfectly-timed, smile-inducing phone call.

OTHER ACTS of sisterhood take on far weightier overtones. When it was time for breast cancer survivor Cindy Leiferman to have her locks shorn, a courageous companion doubled down on what became the most poignant of selfless acts.

“I had scheduled a salon party at BUNGALOW/8 to have my head shaved where about 30 of my girlfriends joined me for appetizers, wine and a few tears,” Leiferman said.

And so it was that Leiferman was spun around in a stylist’s chair to confront in the mirror a reflection of a strange and alien vision, one without any hair. But the shears, it turned out, weren’t yet done with their work that day.

That’s when a cancer-free Kim Jones elbowed aside her sister in solidarity (and her sister in real life) to go under the clippers in an act that emptied every box of tissues in the place.

“She had joked about doing it,” Leiferman continued, “but it didn’t really hit me that she was serious until I saw her climb into that chair!”

THE THEME OF SOLIDARITY still resonates with Leiferman. Already a committed community volunteer for such organizations as Completely KIDS (formerly Camp Fire USA) and many others, she is now co-chair of the April 2012 Kicks for a Cure fundraiser, the weekend-long event that is a benefit for the Liz’s Legacy Cancer Fund.

“Kicks for a Cure was started to honor an amazing woman, Dr. Liz Karnes,” said Leiferman. “Liz ultimately lost her battle with cancer, but fought it for a very long time and beat the odds all along the way. Her then-husband, Senator Dave Karnes, and their four daughters are still very involved with the event.”

The soccer workshops for at-risk youth and exhibition games featuring high school and college programs do more than just support cancer research initiatives at UNMC Eppley Cancer Center and Creighton University Hereditary Cancer Center, they endow scholarships aimed at promoting women’s collegiate athletics.

A COMMON THREAD in any cancer survivor story is that of the unknown. What will tomorrow bring? Does one ever feel safe and “out of the woods?”

“I cannot tell you how much the love and support of family and friends can help you pull through the tough times,” said Leiferman. “I am a strong person and, even though I may not have shown it, I was afraid. I was afraid of not seeing my children grow up, getting married, not meeting my grandchildren.”

Prefering to put a positive spin on her experience, she refuses to live a life of never-ending fear. Hers is instead a never-ending story turned upside down.

“I have been so very blessed,” she said, “with the unconditional love of my husband and family and the support of so many all around me… well, I could go on and on and on forever.”



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