No Matter Your Hardships, Today Is a Great Day to Be Alive

B.J. Viau avatar

by B.J. Viau |

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I’ve lost two moms in my lifetime.

My biological mom, Debbie, who was with me for the first 23 years of my life, passed away in 2011 after a 15-year battle with Huntington’s disease (HD).

When she was diagnosed, we learned about the progression that inevitably would lead to her death. We knew our time together was limited, and that we would slowly lose her without some type of medical breakthrough. Unfortunately, that never happened.

Last month, I lost my stepmom, Gail, who had been a part of my life for the last 10 years. She didn’t have Huntington’s but had battled cancer in some form for as long as I knew her. Looking back on her cancer journey, I think many parallels could be drawn to my mom’s HD journey. However, the main difference is that with cancer, I always felt a glimmer of hope that through divine intervention, or a miracle, she might be cured.

Every time cancer reappeared in my stepmom, she would put on the boxing gloves and go beat up her opponent. That’s what many of us felt she would do again. Gail’s doctor called her a miracle patient. But this time, chemotherapy, radiation, diet, medication, and divine intervention couldn’t stop the cancer beast.

The most impressive thing about Gail was that although she was constantly in the ring trying to knock cancer out of her body, she found joy and fullness in every single day.

2020 was a wild year for everyone. We could all argue over who had a worse year, and nobody would win. Gail taught me and many others that no matter what life throws at you, today is a great day to be alive.

Although it’s a new year, our problems haven’t disappeared, COVID-19 is still around, Huntington’s disease still doesn’t have a cure, and our loved ones who have passed are still gone. What we all are blessed with is the ability to be alive on this planet. Why not live like Gail and make the most of it — even if life doesn’t seem so perfect?

My hope today, and for the rest of the year, and eternity, is that we all take a deep breath each morning and appreciate the gift of life we have in front of us. Prioritize what brings us joy and eliminate all that brings us anxiety. No matter your current situation or hardships, find the time and energy to locate the joy and peace in every moment you have.

Wishing you all a blessed and happy new year!


Note: Huntington’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Huntington’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Huntington’s disease.


Patricia Tilton avatar

Patricia Tilton

Blessings, faith, hope, and joy ~ the best way to live life ~

Bryan Viau avatar

Bryan Viau

BJ - once again you captured and articulated something we can all proactively use daily. You do great honor to the memory of Gail with your words.

Jagers avatar


Great article and such an important reminder to live life to the fullest

Michael Bacon avatar

Michael Bacon

Thank you BJ for taking the time to share your perspective and wisdom.
Regrettably, I did not know Gail, but I know your dad and over the years I have been influenced in a very positive way by the way your family rose to each and every challenge and made the most of every day. This morning I took that deep breath and appreciated the gift of life and also felt blessed by having stumbled on your article. Thank you again for sharing. Blessings to you and your loved ones.

LARRY HAM avatar




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