A couple of months ago, I posted that I would be giving a portion of my income this year to cancer research in honor of my grandparents—my grandmother who passed of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and my grandfather who has dealt with a series of health issues, including prostate cancer.

Cancer, in some way or another, has affected a majority of the people in my life, and sadly we all will know one, if not more, people who will suffer from this awful disease.

These past few months, I’ve reflected a lot on how blessed and grateful I am to have the life that I do and be as healthy as I am. We take these overlooked, yet most important, parts of our lives for granted. The more I think about how I am one of the lucky ones, the more it has propelled me to give back in some capacity. I can see. I can hear. I can walk. I can taste. I am healthy. I don’t suffer from any diseases and am able to function without being reliant on things that are harmful to my body. 

I am so proud to share that after much thought and consideration, this year I will be donating to the Lymphoma Research Foundation! This donation will go toward the foundation’s effort to eradicate lymphoma and serving those affected by the disease. It will be applied to help bring better treatments and cures for people with all types of Lymphoma.

What is Lymphoma, and why did I choose this foundation?

Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that abnormally affects white blood cells. White blood cells are the cells that help protect the body from infection and disease. Abnormal cells may begin dividing faster than normal or they live longer than they should. 

There are two main types of lymphoma: Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The main difference between the two is that one involves Reed-Sternberg cells (HL) and one does not (NHL). There are more than 61 types of NHL, and six types of HL, which is noted as a more uncommon form of Lymphoma.

Lymphoma can develop in many different parts of the body including lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow, blood, and other organs. 

I chose this foundation because it hits close to home for my family. My grandmother lost her battle to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma several years ago. She had cancer, went into remission the August before she had passed, and early the following year was diagnosed again. She checked into the hospital on her birthday with a high fever and five days later lost her life. Sadly, at the time of her passing, I was unable to say goodbye, but feel signs often that she is around - especially on momentous occasions. In lieu of keeping her spirit alive as well as my grandpa who is currently in remission from prostate cancer, this year I would like to honor them and the many others affected by cancer everyday.

I plan to send this donation near Christmas, my family's favorite holiday. It was definitely my grandmother's favorite.

Below is a photo of a handwritten note by my grandma that my mom and aunts would find after her passing in her Christmas ornaments bin.

Girls, If you are reading this I'm probably not on this Earth - but I am with you! Always. I love you! Mom

Girls, If you are reading this I'm probably not on this Earth - but I am with you! Always. I love you! Mom

The amount of cancer charities out there is overwhelming - I honestly had no idea where to begin. I went back and forth about a few, but ultimately found that the Lymphoma Research Foundation was the best fit for not only personal reasons, but also because I know that my donation will actually be going toward the greater good. I am already exploring where I will be donating in 2018, and have the intention of changing the cause I will donate to every year to spread my support.

With much love and respect, I thank the hundreds of you that have chosen me to document the most beautiful parts of your story. It brings me great joy to bring you along the ABP journey and to have your support. I look forward to continuing the pursuit in making the world a better, more impactful and intentional place. Let us lead by example for future generations, who need us now more than ever. 

Blessings to all,

Ashley Burns