HERO -- by Jane Kelley

We all know about The Hero's Journey. I try to follow the stages when I plan tortures -- I mean challenges for my characters. Call to adventure! Challenges and temptations! Abyss! Atonement! Triumphant Return!

But today I want to write about a real hero I know. My friend Alice.

Alice battles cancer.  She fights those insidious cells inside her own body. You can't tell it from this picture. She has a bright smile and an elegant stance. She's holding an object that you wouldn't think of as a weapon, but it is. It's a training paddle because Alice also fights by racing in a dragon boat.

The paddling is important. It strengthens muscles and self images. The team is important. There are many people pulling together to accomplish the goal. The drummers are important. They keep the racers focused and unified. The dragon at the prow is important. Dragons are mythical, magical, fire-breathing creatures. Dragons are also fierce.

Alice has always been a runner. She has raced in many New York City marathons and crossed that finish line all by herself. Now she is deriving strength from being on a team with these women because they are all battling.

And today, July 8th, they will be racing in Florence, Italy. Over three thousand participants have come from all around the world -- from Argentina to New Zealand. They race as part of the International Breast Cancer Paddler's Commission to show the world and themselves that they are not the victims of malignant cells. They are heroes.

I will be there as part of another team of friends and family to cheer Alice and all the women as they glide over the Arno River, under the Ponte Vecchio, and cross the finish line.

They will triumph just by taking part in the race.


  1. Three cheers for Alice and all the women who go to battle every day. Thanks so much for sharing a hero with us Jane!

  2. Bravo for Alice! And for you as her friend!


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