Anne & Stephen Burke

I wouldn't be the person I am today without the support from my incredible parents. They are truly the embodiment of resilience and hospitality (I often refer to them as the real-world Weasley's: they go above and beyond for everyone). They rise to the occasion, whatever that occasion may be, bringing love, strength, humor, and grace to whatever challenge they face. This was especially true a year ago when they got a call from me from the hallway of an ER nearly 700 miles away telling them that doctors had just found a large tumor in my brain that would require immediate surgery. I was working and living in Massachusetts at the time, and they were in North Carolina, but they didn’t let that stop them. Undaunted, though understandably nervous, they rallied and drove 15 hours to meet me in the ICU after my nearly 9-hour brain surgery. During my two-day stay in the hospital, they packed my belongings, visited me in the hospital - then drove me all the way back to NC when I was discharged. During the following year of treatment, they were there for every radiation appointment, scan, and oncology meeting - even gathering support from their community to help cheer me on. They meet all of my adventures and escapades with enthusiasm (and a level-headed nudge when necessary) - their faith in me is what gives me the faith to believe in myself. Through this tumultuous journey there have been sad and frustrated tears, but thanks to them there were also tears of joy. The path hasn't been an easy one, and certainly not one that anyone would choose, but I couldn't have done it without them. I want to be just like them when I grow up!
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