Fighting breast cancer for my best friend


by Emily White Youree

Apr 8, 2016

As Anne Shirley, in Anne of Green Gables so classically said,

“Marilla, do you think that I shall ever have a bosom friend in Avonlea?”

 “A bosom friend—an intimate friend, you know—a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul. I’ve dreamed of meeting her all my life. I never really supposed I would, but so many of my loveliest dreams have come true all at once that perhaps this one will, too. Do you think it’s possible?”

I met Bethany, my kindred spirit, in college.

I actually don’t remember how or when we became friends. To me, it’s like she walked on campus and we joined hearts. This girl quickly became, as Anne and Diana, my bosom friend.

As English majors, we shared classes. We shared late nights and long talks. We shared meals and disgusting amounts of junk food. We shared dorm rooms. We shared hopes. We shared tears. We shared dreams.

Emily and Bethany

We became working professionals and wives and mothers . . . We became women together. Our friendship was so much more than a college experience. It reached years and levels beyond that.

And she’s just not any friend. She is a dearest, a best, a “just-like-a-sister.” We shared millions of laughs, tears, and bags of Doritos in the 14 years I’ve known her. We’ve watched each other marry. We’ve moved miles away. We’ve welcomed babies. We planned to be cranky old Southern women together.

Thus, you can understand my devastation when I learned of her aggressive breast cancer diagnosis late in December 2014.

For certain, hundreds prayed for my friend Bethany. That number is likely more in the thousands, but I’m always one to estimate modestly. I prayed. Family prayed. Friends prayed. Friends of friends prayed. Missionaries prayed. Pastors prayed. Children prayed. Strangers prayed. Yet, Bethany passed away in the early morning hours on January 8, less than two weeks after her initial breast cancer diagnosis. She leaves behind a husband of 10 years, three children under the age of 6, and numerous family and friends shocked and sick and sad by her death.

I was in shock and experienced deep grief upon her passing.

It’s a nightmare that won’t end. A train wreck in slow motion. A Mack truck making its rounds. A breath I’m trying to catch. I’m in the deep end. I’m treading water . . . and not very well.

No doubt these last months have proven challenging and thick with all the levels of grief. One of my deepest heartaches is losing the opportunity to encourage her, to cheer for her as she waged war against breast cancer.

I wanted to be there when she cut her hair, when she sat in the chemo chair, when she was sick at home, when she needed a hug.

It is this loss that sparked the idea for the Best Friend Bazaar. As owner of the Fort Worth Moms Blog (FWMB), I want one of our events per year to support a local organization that benefits women and/or children. When thinking through where FWMB could focus this year, I knew it had to be a place that rallied alongside women battling cancer. The Joan Katz Breast Center at Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center – Fort Worth does just that.

With great excitement, the FWMB is thrilled to host the Best Friend Bazaar, a mom’s night out event, to benefit the Joan Katz Breast Center – a place of hope, a place of practical help for women dealing with a cancer diagnosis and treatment. We hope you can join us.

About the Author

Emily White Youree is a mother of two, wife of one, and owner of the Fort Worth Moms Blog.

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