The Fight








“It isn’t the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” — Mark Twain

I always wanted a sister. Instead, I grew up with one older brother, in a neighborhood full of boys. I had some girl cousins, but we didn’t live close and that was before the age of cell phones, Facebook, and Twitter that make it so easy to communicate. Other than Christmas, Easter, and some weekends in the summer, I was hopelessly stuck in a world full of boys.


Last December, God gave me a sister. Ashley. She was a fairy-princess, floating down the staircase to meet my brother at the altar. I sat, clenching my jaw, determined not to sob my mascara off, but it didn’t work. I cried through the entire ceremony.

Real life gets in the way, though. And in the months since the wedding, hectic work schedules and school schedules made it difficult to spend much time together. But again, through the channels of cell phone, Facebook, and Twitter, we touched base enough to know what was basically going on in each others’ lives.

The first weekend of April, I was working a major event at the denomination I work for when a mutual friend slipped over to the table where I was sitting and whispered frantically, “I just got a text. They’re taking Ashley in for an emergency appendectomy!”

By the end of the day, we knew that it wasn’t her appendix that was the problem. A battery of tests began. A parade of doctors. And on April 25th, during surgery at UNC Women’s Hospital at Chapel Hill, we got the news.


There’s just no pretty way to say it. You can sugarcoat it or wrap it in pretty paper and a bow. But when the fancy stuff is rubbed off of it, the cold, hard truth is that it’s cancer.

Stage 3C Dysgerminoma. Ovarian Cancer.

We feel incredibly blessed that although dysgerminoma is very rare, it’s also very responsive to chemotherapy. On Monday, Ashley will begin her second round of aggressive chemo.

I wouldn’t have chosen this for Ashley. I wouldn’t have chosen this for anyone. But my brave sister is a fighter and an overcomer. And I have no doubt in my mind that she’s going to beat this cancer.

One night last week, I was multitasking around my house. I was watching a movie while folding a load of laundry. And as usual, I had my TweetDeck (that’s Twitter, in case you aren’t familiar) open on my laptop near me. I just happened to glance at the tweet stream as my friend, Cheryl, tweeted something that made me pause. And then, I clicked on the link and began to cry.

Cheryl’s friend, Mark, is an avid runner. Lots of people run for sport. To lose weight or get in shape. To keep their blood pressure down. To impress their significant other. To win prizes…

I don’t know why Mark started running, but this time, he’s running to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

And I cried…

I’ve always known that cancer was bad. I’ve always known that cancer’s an enemy. I’ve known lots of people who have had brushes with cancer. I’ve had two close friends die from breast cancer. But that all pales in comparison to how personal it’s become now that it’s attacked my sister.

 And daggone it—we’re fighting back!

When I clicked on the link to Mark’s webpage and I read about the running he’s doing to raise money for the American Cancer Society, I was so overwhelmed with gratitude. There’s no way that I could run. But this guy, that I don’t even know, can. And so if I can’t run, then I’m going to fight the only ways I can. I’m going to give. And I’m going to give other people the chance to give, too.

I tweeted. “Cancer hit my family and I hit back!” But that doesn’t seem like enough of a fight. So, I’m stepping on a platform that allows me more than 140 characters.

Cancer hit my family. Help me to hit back!

Below, I’m giving you the link to Mark’s webpage, where you can donate (anonymously or not) to support Mark’s run for the American Cancer Society. Every dollar has the power to change a life. I’d love for you to consider joining in the fight.

I’m also giving you the link to my brother and sister-in-law’s site at Caring Bridge. You’ve seen a small glimpse of their story through my eyes, but they tell it so beautifully at their site. I encourage you to go over there and visit them. Leave a message of encouragement in the guest book. Love on them. And let their story, their faith, encourage you.

And keep your eyes open to my blog here because when my brother heard that I was posting this today, he offered to write something for me to share here about their fight. So, stay tuned for that…

About Sarah Salter


  1. Rose Hubbard says:

    Sarah, I am deeply touched and moved by the story “Fight”. You are truly an extra special person. God has used your words to remind me of His strong and mighty powers. Thank you for the love and kindness you have shown to “my” angel and daughter. Great is your reward. THANKS!!!

  2. Sarah Salter says:

    Mrs. Rose, God sure did bless us when He gave us Ashley! Thank you for being such a wonderful, loving Mama. Thank you for the Godly example you and Mr. Oris have been and are to her, Spencer, and all of us. I’m so glad I know you and that God’s chosen to put us in a family together. 🙂

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