Incredibly positive. When you hear from your doctor those harsh words: “You have cancer,” that’s exactly what you have to be… incredibly positive. It’s terribly hard for some, but for Amy Pettenato, of Medford, New York, it’s become something of a motto. She also tried to stay strong when she learned she had kidney failure. But Amy could not help feeling a bit uncomfortable when all her hair was gone from the treatments and she had to go out in public.
One day she was having lunch at a restaurant with her family. She could feel the eyes of young children at the next table upon her. And as Amy looked up at their mother, she offered a simple smile. The hat Amy was wearing could not hide the fact that she had no hair, so she felt terribly embarrassed. As the family next to Amy’s table got up to leave, the mother slid over and sat down next to Amy. She told her about her own 13-year battle with cancer, and she encouraged Amy to always stay positive.
A short time after that, after the woman had left, Amy learned that she had paid for Amy and her family’s meals. It was such a kind gesture, and her words were so reassuring. So Amy decided she was going to try to track down that unknown woman to thank her for her incredible kindness.
Says Amy in her Facebook post: “She was an angel and made my day. Not because she paid the bill but because she wasn’t afraid to sit next to a total stranger and share her experience and wish me the best.”
Amy’s post was shared hundreds of times, and many of those times through local friends. And as it happens, that woman was, indeed, located, and identifed as Kerry Holmes-Vallario.
Says Kerry: “When I saw her I knew exactly what she was feeling—I remember the day my husband shaved my head; it was the hardest day of my life. When I saw her sitting there I just wanted her to know that she isn’t alone in her fight and that ‘we’ as warriors are all here for each other. On my journey I had met so many women who became friends from this disease and I wanted a just reach out to [her] and let her know I was there for her.”
And now, Amy and Kerry are the best of friends, and continue to be warriors.