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  • Writer's pictureTerri Tomoff

Day 28 of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month with Terri & Bill, and PTG!

It's Day 28 of CCAM, and with me today is hubby Bill to help me finish in 30 days hath September! We discuss how we gleefully fell into PTG-G or Post Traumatic Growth and Gains (I added the Gains) while reading an article in the July 2015 issue of Oprah Magazine.

The burning question: Is there an upside to tragedy? Yes, say psychologists. It’s called Post Traumatic Growth. Ginny Graves Article on PTG - July 2015 Oprah Magazine

Bill and I have found through our over 25-year experience with childhood and adult cancers with Ryan and our family that we always felt better when helping others, even if we were going through a tough spell. Maybe I couldn’t mow someone’s lawn, but I could write a card and send it to the person needing a boost. Our brains then release endorphins in the simple act of taking a few minutes to help someone else. It’s uncanny, right?

Moping about our situation (except for a good cry or some silence to manage our thoughts) was not helping our case, certainly not for Ryan or Olivia.

"PTG is a term coined by Richard Tedeschi, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and his colleague, Lawrence Calhoun, Ph.D. Dozens of studies have shown that trauma survivors can change in profound ways. And it goes well beyond resilience or bouncing back from adversity. “With post-traumatic growth, a person who has faced difficult challenges doesn’t just return to baseline, which is what happens with resilience,” explains Tedeschi. “They change in fundamental, sometimes dramatic, ways.”

That’s it! It’s not for everyone, but PTG is for us. Bill and I plan to give back for the rest of our lives. As Mother Teresa used to say to other nuns and the world, “do small things with great love.” That’s our calling. Giving back does not have to be on the big stage or donating millions of dollars to a cause (nice and definitely needed too), but doing simple things can go an extraordinarily long way.

My adage, One Person, One Family at a time, in who I reach and who my work is for, is never lost on me. It is the way Bill and I are determined to make a difference.



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