Tracie Cone has always been a trailblazer. This award-winning journalist is the former California Newspaper Executive of the Year. She shares a Pulitzer Prize with fellow staff members at the Miami Herald for coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew and has twice been nominated individually. She has focused her writing on helping the underdog and empowering those without a strong voice of their own. Now she takes us on the fight of her life.
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People Are Inherently Nice

In my profession it’s easy to form the conclusion that people are inherently mean and that there is more hatred than love in the world. The stories about man-cased tragedies far outnumber the ones of kindness, and conflict overshadows contentment.

Now I see things much differently, hopefully as they really are. The random acts of kindness and courtesies bestowed upon my bald head have become too numerous to count.

I pick up my prescription for anti-nausea medications and the pharmacy clerk asks if it’s OK if she puts me on her prayer list. At Costco last night as I selected a long-sleeved swim shirt that blocks 100 percent of UV rays (remember chemo patients can have NO sun), I struck up a conversation with the woman in charge of the display. As I left she, too, asked if she could pray for me. “That would be nice,” I said, assuming she meant later, like the pharmacy clerk. Instead she put her hand on my shoulder and launched into a very moving prayer for my recovery right there in front of Fresno’s bulk shoppers! Sweet.

On Saturday in Carmel, a bistro owner comped my lunch after a long talk about cancer. (My mom said she had tears in her eyes as we spoke.) A woman in a gallery who survived Stage 4 ovarian cancer offered encouragement.

On our walks this past weekend along Monterey Bay, countless people approaching us in the other direction smiled broadly and gave me thumbs up.

I forgot to hold in my gut! This was on our Monterey walk...

It goes on and on.

I write this as my old friend Kim wings her way here from Florida, sacrificing two weeks of vacation to be our dog walker and to drive me where I need to be. NOBODY vacations in Fresno in the summer, or anytime for that matter.

I used to be surprised by the support all of you old and new friends are giving to help me through the toughest struggle of my life. Now I realize that’s what friends do.

But these strangers are still blowing me away. All of this amazing outpouring of kindness and compassion has made me look at how I’ve lived my life. Have I been nice enough, kind enough to strangers?

You can bet I will be in the future!

PS: It’s back to Stanford tomorrow for the new phase of chemo. Taxatere and Lapatinib. Chemo and pills designed to permeate my brain membranes, attack any rogue cells that might be hiding there, and prevent a recurrence. I should also get my test results. As bad as it sounds, I’m looking forward to some laughs. Kim and Carol, two of the funniest people I know, are driving me over. Nice!

4 Responses to “People Are Inherently Nice”

  • Elaine H.:

    Your stories about the kindness of the strangers you have met are a great reminder to us to be willing to look up from our lives and out for others as often as we can. You are doing that with your blog, Tracie. You will be in my prayers tomorrow as you make another trip to Stanford. I’m so glad you will be with friends that make you laugh, because we all know that for you that is one of the best medicines. Hope you laugh so much your cheeks hurt!!!!

  • Larry:

    Tracie, you put a big smile on my heart.

  • Michelle Johnson:

    I love this.

  • sunnie:

    love you so much… you will beat this one day at a time… time teaches us that… :)

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