A Cancer Survivor’s Gift and Card for my Brother


Just last week I wrote about my older sister Ruth and her husband, and today I am onto writing about my little brother, John, and the Gift and Hallmark Card I got him–because frankly he deserves a card and gift more than anyone else I know these days.

Let me tell you about John.  John is the youngest in my family and suffered through his youth with all older sisters–4 of us.  He is funny, loyal, intelligent, a showman and incredibly devoted to his family.  He’s a sweet kid…and yes, in my mind he will always be a kid.  My mom snapped the picture below this year on vacation.  We were all there, except my youngest sister, who lives in France as a nun.


Here’s John with my other sister, Susan.  Since they were back to back in the birth order Susan and John have always been close and I bet although we all missed Susan when she answered the call and moved to France to join the Little Sisters of the Lamb, John missed her the most.  In the picture below John and Susan are holding my two oldest kids.  We all love it when Susan is in the country.

john 2

So, like I said, John is a great guy, and in many ways the classic youngest in a big family.  If there is anything he loves more than attention, it’s naps!

Oh, and one more thing, John had brain cancer in college.

john cancer

It took a year of his life, but, through the power of prayer, it did not take his life.

After cancer he went back and finished college, explored a call to the priesthood, and has worked a handful of jobs.  He’s a miracle.  He’s my favorite miracle.

What I have come to realize by watching my brother journey through cancer, however, is that even after the cancer is gone the journey is not over.  Survival it’s own challenge, and in someways a bigger challenge than the cancer.  John had brain cancer and he beat it, which is amazing!  Almost no one beats brain cancer.

But, there-in lays the challenge.  All of the sudden a boy in his early twenties has to face questions that most of us don’t deal with until much, much later in life, if at all.  Why was I spared?  What am I supposed to do with this life?  What is the greater purpose God has allowed me to live to fulfill?

Those are some heavy questions–and worst of all they don’t just come from inside of him, they come from all over.  People are always interested in what John is (or isn’t) doing now.  Sure, people are probably just curious and concerned, but it seems like a lot of pressure–and worst of all even I have given into being a little hard on him (shocking, I know).  As a result of all of this, my brother has been a little down lately, and who can blame him?

But, here is the truth.  My little brother has done something very few are able to do.  HE BEAT CANCER.  He did it.  And, if you ask me, he should be damn proud of that.  He should walk around every day with his head held high, and a bounce in his step because he had a cancerous tumor in his brain, and he lived.

And so, I decided my brother needed a pick-me-up gift and card.  The kids and I headed to Walmart and found the perfect section of cards for John.  They are called Buzz-Worthy Cards and their corny sense of humor is a perfect fit for my relationship with my brother.

buzz card 2

The one I picked out is right in front there (no, not the bikini one)–the BULL CRAP card.  It’s perfect.  We grew up on a cattle farm and, frankly, John has been dealing with a lot of bull crap lately.  He has had some hard knocks, but I really want him to keep in mind all that he has accomplished and remain hopeful for the future.  I really don’t want him to get mired down in all of this, well, bull crap.

And, because I am a stitcher, I feel that if you are really going to say something, you need to say it in stitch (is that weird?).  Here is a little project I made for my brother–and I included the pattern in case you have a cancer survivor in your life that needs to be reminded of how awesome they are.

buzz cancer cross stitch


In light of all the snarky cross stitch that has been popular lately, I made this pattern.  It says, “I beat cancer.  What the hell have you done?”  I’m planning on framing it and encouraging my little brother to set it somewhere to remind him that he is awesome–even if someone out there is making him feel like he isn’t.

Here’s the pattern:


cross stitch pattern--cancer


And there you have it: my brother, a deadly disease, a card and a cross stitch pattern.  Whoa, I’m tired.

Just please, remember to love and support the cancer survivors in your life.  They are still on the journey, and we all need to remember that.

One last thing:  Make sure to head to Connections from Hallmark  to sign up for Hallmark Rewards, and to see great content from other bloggers. Full details on the Hallmark Rewards Program can be found HERE–for every 5 cards you purchase at Walmart you will receive a reward.  And, don’t forget to join in the #Tendycards conversation on Twitter!  

All the best,

Name Picture


  1. Beautifully written, you have raised some valid points. You and your sisters certainly look alike too!
    Which program did you use for designing your cross stitch pattern?
    Karen @ Pieces of Contentment recently posted…ThoughtfulnessMy Profile

  2. Thank you for this encouraging and inspirational post. I used to cross stitch in high school all the time but haven’t in years!
    Melanie recently posted…Comment on Tips to Make Your Own Simple Smash Cake by Let’s Bake a Cake…Join Me in a Cake Baking Basics Class – It Happens in a BlinkMy Profile

  3. I love your cross stitch and the card that goes with it! I love that you make your own cross stitch patterns, it’s so clever.
    Kadie recently posted…5 Different Types of Furniture PaintingMy Profile

  4. An amazing story!! Sounds like you have a wonderful family-and I’m sure your little brother is going to LOVE his snarky yet oh-so-appropriate card and gift! #client
    Nicole Elliott recently posted…The Very Best Thank You Card is a BuzzWorthy One!My Profile

  5. This is perfect! I’m putting together a bunch of quotes and inspirations for someone battling cancer and this is perfect to go with that. Thanks for providing the pattern.

  6. I just finished making this and am sewing it into a pillow for a gift for my MIL’s celebration party for beating cancer! Thanks sooo much for the wonderfully fun pattern.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing this pattern. I just stitched up a few of these – one for my mom, one for a friend’s father, and hopefully one for my uncle-in-law. 🙂

    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/529173024944832489/ (I don’t know why the pic is sideways, but…you get the idea.)

    Thanks again!


  1. […] You can find the pattern HERE.  […]

  2. […] feeling very inspired by the I Beat Cancer free pattern on Do Small Things With […]

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