In early 2020, Raafiah, at the time a newlywed and busy legal assistant for the state, was watching television when she felt a lump in her breast. After immediately calling her OB/GYN she was referred to oncologist Bonni Lee Guerin, MD who directs the Breast Cancer Treatment and Prevention Program at Overlook. As COVID was paralyzing the nation, Raafiah feared treatment for her new breast cancer diagnosis would be delayed or postponed. She was surprised as treatment promptly moved forward and felt very optimistic about the extraordinary care gathering around her at Overlook. The exceptional compassion and attention she received from everyone on her care team while recovering from her mastectomy confirmed her thoughts that Overlook was the best place for her to fight breast cancer.
“I would become anxious about everything I was going through on my drive to Overlook but as soon as I walked through the doors, I knew it would be OK.”
As Raafiah continued treatment, she realized she needed to take steps to cope with her experience rather than just go through the motions. She also needed to stay strong for her husband and two young children. Raafiah started participating in programs at the Cancer Center and found working with Thomas Dooley, Overlook’s poet-in-residence, at weekly expressive writing workshops to be incredibly impactful. It was during one of those workshops that Raafiah wrote “What do I celebrate . . .”.
Raafiah’s touching words remind us that we have so much, and so many people, to celebrate. We celebrate our patients, whose right to excellence in healthcare drives us forward each day. We celebrate the caregivers who we welcome with open arms to the Thomas Glasser Caregivers Center. We celebrate the physicians, nurses, and staff at Overlook for dedicating their lives to providing outstanding healthcare for our community. And we celebrate YOU – our community of supporters – whose generous gifts have brought cutting-edge healthcare close to home.
What do I celebrate . . .By Raafiah Webb
I don’t celebrate as often as I should but if I would, it would be the littlest
things that I often take for granted…
Like the birds that fly onto my balcony & stare into my window
I think just to say hello or the spiky tiny hairs that’s growing on my bald head.
I would celebrate my son’s silence, his presence alone, is a gift.
I would celebrate more often my daughter’s annoying silliness,
My husband’s rambling about his day at work.
I should celebrate every little thing every single day because to celebrate is to live.