Just a few years ago one of my best friends was diagnosed with breast cancer. I’ll never forget the day she called me telling me the news. I remember sobbing with her on the phone and doing all I could to lift everything up in prayer with her. She told me on the phone that she was still going to run her marathon she’d been training for. It was only in a few weeks at Disney World.
I booked a flight and headed to Florida to surprise her. I’ll never forget her face! I watched her finish her race strong, and not only that but finish her last year of law school while enduring multiple surgeries, taking shots every day, and battling the pain of chemotherapy and radiation.
Last year, I asked Bethany if she would share her story for an upcoming series we were working on that dealt with prayer. The series is called The Sacred Echo with author and speaker Margaret Feinberg. When Bethany flew out for my baby shower last Septermber, in one tightly packed weekend, our team at Bluefish shot her story.
I just finished transcribing one of the most powerful stories I’ve ever heard (that will be included in our Bluefish 2010 Youth Series releasing in the fall). Kristin Elliott (her middle name happens to be Elizabeth- reminding me of the missionary Elisabeth Eliott) is no typical young woman.
Elizabeth grew up in a Christian home, went to a Christian school but desperately wanted a story of hope to give to others. At the end of her high school career, she found a lump in her leg. The lump ended up being a cancerous tumor. A life-threatening one. She was operated on and the Make A Wish foundation found out about her. They came to her house and allowed her to grant one wish. She could either meet someone (a celebrity), go somewhere, or have something (an object). She told them she wanted to build an orphanage in Africa. They were perplexed. They’d never had a request like that from anyone. They went back to their headquarters to see what they could work out.
Her desire for an orphanage went back to the need Kristin saw on a special on TV. She thought that someone needed to go to them and that she could be it. So her and her family decided to take a trip to Africa shortly after her operation. She wanted to meet the needs of those children who didn’t have a home or love. When she returned from the trip, she was rediagnosed with this dangerous form of cancer and it was now in her lungs. She was operated on again. Doctors were able to get all of the cancer out. Around that time, Make a Wish responded to her and they were able to give her their maximum amount of money (around 2k) to jump start her funds towards the orphanage in Africa.
The news then got a hold of her story and many people began donating to her wish. She raised the 60k that was needed to build the orphanage and then some. The orphanage would hold 12 orphans and 2 adults to oversee the home.
Kristin began to heal and is now cancer free. She’s in her first year at Baylor and has had opportunities to spread the hope of Christ just as she prayed for- even though cancer may not have been her first choice.
I’m just blown away by Kristin’s heart. She experienced the most difficult trial of her life and yet she was willing to give of herself fully (reminding me so much of the life of Christ). A dream was fulfilled that she never would have imagined coming true at only 18 years old. Her legacy will certainly be marked in Zambia forever, as the house for orphans is now called Kristin’s Miracle House.