Just One Word

It's just one word. Six little letters. Two syllables. Some words are more powerful than others. This one is, arguably, the most powerful of them all.


One of my dearest friends has cancer. I've known her almost all my life. She's not my mother but when I was growing up I considered her to be almost like my second mother. There were days when I stayed home sick from school and she took care of me. When I first arrived in Israel back in 2005 she made me my first meal there (hamburger soup, pita, chummus, maybe a fruit?). She's Stella, and she's one of the strongest people I know.

And yet, cancer is trying to steal her from me. From her husband. From her children. From her myriad of friends and supporters.

Her battle has had some ups and downs. Last year her husband raised somewhere around $40,000 in a solo charity bike ride. Cancer may be evil but on that day, cancer brought thousands of people around the world together in an overwhelming display of charity. Take that cancer!

As I've said before, I've been running lately and have already done a 5K race. I'm going to be dedicating my running career to Stella. Some day cancer may take her from us. But she will always live with me when I run.

Two years ago I read an amazing poem about cancer. I'm going to share it with you below. Please credit the author if reproducing it.

Cancer affects everyone. I can't think of anyone who remains untouched by this wicked disease. Who are you "running" for?

Just one Word
With just a word
A day could change
From great into despair

Or one small word
Could change a mood
From down to in the air

With just a word
The news it brings
Can kill or it can save

A tiny word 
Can build me up
And make me know I’m brave

Or one small word
Can break my heart
And know that I will lose

With one small word
I may be asked 
To be the one to choose

Just one small word 
Can say I love
Or fill me full of hate

Yes one small word
Can crush a friend
Or serve to elevate

With one small word
The time we have
May seem too short to spend

With one small word
I may find out
Our time is soon to end

Yes one small word
Can make or break
My outlook on the day

Oh God 
Please make the word I heard 
Be gone from yesterday

-Elana Miller 4/28/2011


  1. Two years ago, Stella had a pain in her side and we went to have it checked out. It took a few days for tests to be done, but when I first heard that word it shattered my world. I felt the floor had dropped away. And two years later, I am still falling. Thank you for you and your mom's words.

  2. I love you guys so much. My heart cries for all of you and especially my dear friend, Stella. I poured my love into this poem. I hope you enjoy it.