Spring Williams officially conquered her battle with breast cancer in March.
She was in the process of starting a nonprofit and she had just resumed teaching at William Allen Middle School. She was there for precisely one day before the pandemic forced students and teachers to take their work online.
Now more than ever, Williams thinks about those undergoing chemotherapy whose immune systems are compromised, leaving them more susceptible to COVID-19. So she’s moving forward with Inspiring Life Together, in the hope that she can help those battling breast cancer during the pandemic and after.
Williams was diagnosed with breast cancer in April, 2019. At the time, she’d been teaching middle school science and was coaching fitness classes. Then everything came to a pause as she grappled with chemotherapy, surgeries and radiation.
Above all else, what stood out to Williams during that time was the immense sense of support she received. When she went for chemotherapy, she was surrounded by an entourage of people and she made new connections along the way.
Friends frequently offered to clean her house, brought over groceries, cooked for her or donated money to send her children to summer camp. Williams said all the acts of kindness enabled her to take her time and heal.
One of the women in Williams’ cycle classes gifted her with a sign that said, “Be strong. You never know who you’re inspiring.” She hung it in one of the rooms of her home, and one day, she realized that her name was in the word inspiring. A few days later, Williams was thinking about the words on the sign when her husband, John, walked in and came to the same realization about the sign. She immediately burst into tears and knew what she wanted to do.
“Coming out of all that I said, ‘I have to be able to give back to others the way it’s been given to me,’” Williams said.
So she and her husband created Inspiring Life Together in January, 2020. WIlliams said so many people inspired the couple during her battle, and now it was her turn to help inspire others.
The nonprofit now has six board members who have been steadily working to get the effort off the ground. Williams said its goal is to provide practical goods and services for those battling breast cancer. Thy could run the gamut from delivering groceries to paying for lawn care services.
When COVID-19 hit, the Williamses decided to pause their work. When Spring headed in for her monthly maintenance medication, she noticed the treatment facility was limiting visitors, and she watched as those undergoing treatment did so alone.
“To have to go through this alone — it’s isolating anyway — but to have an extra layer just presents even more of a challenge,” Williams said. “We decided to move forward.”
Throughout May, the nonprofit will host a series of virtual events and classes to raise money for women receiving treatment during COVID-19. The events include the likes of virtual yoga, comedy shows and strength-based classes.
Williams said she and her husband recognize it’s currently a financially difficult time for many, so the events are free and there’s no donation requirement. But for those who can donate, no donation is too small, she added.
Women currently undergoing treatment can submit an application on Inspiring Life Together’s website. Williams said thus far, the project has received two applications, and while she’s excited to help fulfill some of the applicants’ needs, she’s even more excited to keep in touch and help provide them with a sense of community during a difficult time.
To learn more, visit https://www.inspiringlifetogether.org.