Marlys Hawthorne is a wife, a mother to three beautiful children, a career woman, a soccer coach, and PTO president.
And she’s been fighting breast cancer for the past four years.
Now, at only 27 years old, she is making the brave decision to reduce her cancer treatment and focus on living her life, and enjoying the time she has left with her family.
But she has one last wish.
The whole family “bleeds Wardogs,” Hawthorne says. The Wardogs are a Pop Warner Little Scholars organization in Colorado Springs that offers tackle football and cheerleading programs for kids ages 5-15. All three of her kids are involved, as well as her and her husband, Jeffrey.
Her son plays football, their two young girls are cheerleaders, her husband is a defensive coach, and Hawthorne herself is a team mom and also a Wardogs Board Member.
After Hawthorne was diagnosed in 2014, she had a double mastectomy and additional treatment to prevent her cancer from spreading. Her doctors removed every trace of cancer they could find, and a year after her diagnosis she was in the clear. The likelihood the cancer would come back was less than 10%.
The family had a fantastic first season with the Wardogs. But after it ended, Hawthorne was told the cancer had returned, and this time, it had metastasized.
Her Facebook post reads in part:
“The morning came and it was time to talk to the kids. We decided we needed to be vulnerable and honest with them. We sat around the table and tears began to fill our eyes. We then told them we were going to make the most of every opportunity and laugh lots. Then this afternoon we headed to the zoo to enjoy time with just the 5 of us. This is our hard. This is where He meets us. This is where we choose joy.”
Since stopping treatment, her body has “freaked out” from detoxing from the chemo, radiation, and other meds. She’s taking care of herself, and allowing herself grace.
“I don’t want any part of me to “seem” sick. What I want them to say about me when I am gone is that I lived well. I fought for the grace and joy in each day. I have even decided that I am good with people saying, “She never seemed sick.” This doesn’t mean I don’t need my tribe, that I don’t need help, or that I have it all figured out. It just means I am going to choose to live like my miracle is coming. And if it doesn’t… ‘He is still Good.'”
Her son loves football, and Hawthorne has long dreamt of seeing him play ball in high school. But because her cancer is terminal, she likely won’t see the day.
So her Wardogs decided they would make it happen for her in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Asher’s Wardogs played at the field for Vista Ridge High School, with the lights blazing.
For the game, the Wardogs, cheerleaders, the crowd, and even the opposing team, Monument Blizzard, decked themselves out in pink. They wore pink, some even dyed their hair, and they had a great time.
“My mama heart is so full knowing that my children will forever be surrounded by these people long after I am gone,” Hawthorne wrote on the Wardogs’ website.
We hope your miracle comes, Marlys.
C. Dixon likes to read, sing, eat, drink, write, and other verbs. She enjoys cavorting around the country to visit loved ones and experience new places, but especially likes to be at home with her husband, son, and dog.