07/10/05 — Life’s lessons: With grace and determination, Olivia Whaley inspired

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Life’s lessons: With grace and determination, Olivia Whaley inspired

Olivia Whaley wasn’t the kind of person you would think of first if you were using the textbook definition of a heroine.

She was beloved, but not famous; courageous, but not overtly so. She did not seek out attention. She was content simply to live her life without fanfare.

Her friends say she was the kind of person who weathered her storms with grace and dignity, without ever taking the time to complain about the hand she was dealt.

She loved her job, so much so that when she started suffering from a rare form of breast cancer, the symptoms and the treatment rarely kept her out of school.

After all, she couldn’t let her students at Brogden Primary School suffer.

Last week, Mrs. Whaley succumbed to her cancer. It was a battle she fought with deep faith and the kind of courage reserved for those who are content to know that living the life you have is as important as prolonging it.

She was this year’s honorary Relay for Life chairman, and was one of the speakers at the group’s annual kickoff banquet in February.

Her story is one of perseverance and determination not to let cancer keep her from living, and she inspired many other cancer patients to do the same thing.

Her loss is especially poignant because of the lessons she taught those who battle cancer, and those who do not.

Her life was a roadmap for the rest of us as we determine what should matter and what shouldn’t, where to invest energy and where not to, and how to live out the lives we have been allotted.

She taught us to see rainbows, not raindrops, sunshine and not the clouds coming down the road.

She showed us how to celebrate life no matter what challenges it might bring.

There could be no better legacy.

Published in Editorials on July 10, 2005 12:26 AM