Layton Public Relations Manager Nicole Martin and her big sister, Laurie.

 

My older sister loved to tease me. She’d lock me out on the balcony, she’d play Hide and Seek, but never actually try to find me and then there’s the time she put underwear in my Trapper Keeper to embarrass me at school. I still have PTSD from that last prank. I have wonderful memories of my sister… and that’s all I have now.

My 49-year-old sister died of lung cancer on February 4, 2017. More than a year later and I still can’t say those words without feeling disbelief. The diagnosis was unexpected, the cancer was merciless, the remaining time with her was heartbreakingly short, and the inability to heal her or ease her pain was maddening.

I was blessed to be at her bedside in her final hours as she was told she was going to die. What I will never forget is that, despite the fact that cancer had gutted her physically and emotionally, she still had hope until the end. In her impossibly frail state, she was still willing to fight. Upon hearing the news, she simply said, “Well this sucks. I don’t want to leave you or my kids.” She didn’t think of herself or her suffering, she simply wanted more time to love the people she loved.

Nicole shared her story on Instagram to inspire others to join 5 for the Fight.

Nicole shared her story on Instagram to inspire others to join 5 for the Fight.

Coincidentally, I joined the Layton Construction family in January as a public relations manager on the corporate communications team as we were launching the “5 For the Fight” campaign. I find it quite healing to feel empowered to do something to battle cancer, even if my efforts don’t help my sister now.

The phrase I kept finding myself saying was, “What I wouldn’t give”… for Laurie to have more time with her kids; to see her hold her grandkids; to hear her laugh over a big sister prank; for her to grow old with me.

What the “5 For the Fight” campaign gives me is the opportunity to say, “What Would I Give?” What would I give to provide time or healing to others going through this same trial? Five dollars is so little in the grand scheme of things, so little compared to life and memories made. So, what would I give? I’d give up a trip to Starbucks, I’d give up my chocolate cake addiction … for a day, let’s not go crazy here, I’d buy one less fun ring. What I’d give up is a frivolous purchase in the hope that it contributes to a cure or a priceless opportunity for someone to have the one thing my sister didn’t, more time.

So far in 2018, Layton employees have committed more than $100,000 to cancer research. We’re asking all employees and business partners to join us by donating $5 or more to 5 for the Fight. If every Layton employee gave just $5 per paycheck, Layton would reach its 2018 donation goal of $200,000 or more by tomorrow.