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Three Things a Cancer Survivor Taught me about Thriving

"The tree that never had to fight

For sun and sky and air and light,

But stood out in the open plain

And always got its share of rain,

Never became a forest king

But lived and died a scrubby thing."

~Douglas Malloch

I didn’t know Donna Blundred or her husband, Larry, six years ago when she was diagnosed with brain cancer. Doctors told her she had less than a year to live.

Have you ever imagined being given a deadline like that? What you would do?

This couple summoned everything in them to carry on and write two books about their ordeal. I was honored to help them promote the second, Rise Above: Survivor, or Thriver?which published in Nov. 2018.

So what is in Larry and Donna that has given them so much strength? They shared their message of hope in the face of hardship on morning news programs at WXIX Fox 19 and WKRC Local 12. As I learned about their journey and watched them share it with others, I picked up three key takeaways about thriving.

Have Faith

The Blundreds are dedicated to living their lives on God’s terms. They are devoted to their church and helping others as they are called to do. Their faith in a higher, healing power has helped them stand when they felt like sitting out.

Face Your Fears

Fear will hold you back from your potential if you let it. Whether you are fighting cancer or fighting for a new job opportunity, don’t let negativity beat you down. We have to face our fears to thrive in this life.

Focus on Joy

Joyful is one of six hallmarks of a thriver, identified by the Blundreds in their book, Rise. In the face of negative news, people or environments, a joyful person is a ray of light, and someone who will thrive.

More to the Story

These are just some of the lessons that applied to me, personally. Rise is full of inspiring anecdotes, scripture and poems like the one I shared at the beginning of this post. I’ve enjoyed giving copies of the book to thrivers in my life. You can follow the Blundreds as their story continues via their blog, order their books or even contact them for a speaking engagement on their website,


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