EASTER is a time of new life, new beginnings, new directions.
I was reminded of this on April 3 when I attended a fashion parade in the Myer Brisbane City Store.
The theme of the parade was New Directions, and modelling in that parade was my youngest daughter, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth has been modelling since 2001, when as a Year 12 student at All Hallows’ School in Brisbane, she was asked by Vivien’s Modelling Agency to work for them.
Modelling under the name of Beth, she has worked in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, as well as in Sydney and Melbourne.
Elizabeth attends university, studying environmental science, and she works at Target as a casual employee.
In January 2003, Elizabeth was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. In the months following this diagnosis, she underwent several operations, 12 rigorous chemotherapy treatments, and innumerable needles, blood tests and scans.
Our family was inundated with prayers from relatives, friends, and even people we did not know, both in Australia and from overseas.
Because of the miracles of modern medicine, the power of prayer, and Elizabeth’s faith and courage, she is now in remission.
The Myer parade was a significant one for Elizabeth. It was her first catwalk assignment since she finished her treatment.
My heart swelled with pride as I watched her model the different outfits. She looked so beautiful, so young, so determined.
I thought that, for her too, there were New Directions. The new directions of a deepening of faith borne from adversity and increased prayer.
This, coupled with a positive and courageous attitude, was what was allowing Elizabeth to move forward in her life.
She has returned to her university studies, and to working at Target. While there may be a return to previous commitments and events, there is no going back.
There has been a rebirth, borne from her battle with cancer, and from facing huge challenges and conquering them. For Elizabeth, life will never be the same.
The past year has seen her grow and mature into a very special young woman, who inspires all around her.
What better time than Easter for my daughter to take these steps forward in her life? This time of new beginnings, when we are reminded of the love of the risen Lord, who had to undergo so much misery and suffering on our behalf.
Being faced with her own mortality was a difficult experience for Elizabeth, and indeed for all of our family. Through CanTeen, the organisation that supports young people with cancer and their siblings, Elizabeth has met many other wonderful young people who are as brave and resilient as she is.
But sometimes there is a reality check. Last week, one of the young men whom Elizabeth met through CanTeen, lost his battle with leukaemia. He was 21, a year older that Elizabeth.
When we received this news, I pointed out to her that there could be no better time to have an end to all suffering, and to be reborn to new life, than at Easter time.
Our family continues to pray that Elizabeth will stay in remission, and eventually be cured. The oncologist has told us that this will take several years.
Every two months when she undergoes further tests and visits the specialist, we pray that the results will be good. Our family continues to feel the healing power of God, not only in Elizabeth’s life, but in ours as well.
The Catholic Leader is an Australian award-winning Catholic newspaper that has been published by the Archdiocese of Brisbane since 1929. Our journalism seeks to provide a full, accurate and balanced Catholic perspective of local, national and international news while upholding the dignity of the human person.
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