When we first started looking for extraordinary families to tell their stories, I did not know who we would find or what their unique circumstances would be. One thing I quickly realized was how many versions of extraordinary exist in the world. Sarah Bennett initially reached out to me casually on Snapchat with a message that said something like, “Any interest in featuring a mom currently going through chemo?”
Honestly, I wasn’t sure. I had imagined this series being uplifting and a mother with cancer sounded really heavy. But I told her we would consider it and to submit her story under the post like everybody else.
It is heavy. There is no getting around it. But Sarah said that despite being in an ongoing battle (this is not a remission story), she wanted to give other parents dealing with cancer or a terminal illness hope. “I never want anyone else to feel as lonely as I did the first few months of my diagnosis.”
She told me that it would be very easy for her to lie in bed all day and feel sorry for herself and nobody would question her for doing that, but she “puts on a happy face” for her three-year-old son, Austin. She doesn’t want him to look back on his childhood and remember that his mother was always sick. She wants him to remember his mom doing all the things that mothers do.
I also admire that when Sarah informed her friends and family on Facebook about a particular setback, she knew she was delivering the kind of news that people would not know how to respond to, so she told them specifically what she wanted to hear and gave them permission to “like” her post or click the “angry face.”
“Often times people don’t know how to react when they hear about my circumstances. That’s okay. If you don’t know what to say, just say that. It’s better than silence. Just knowing that people are out there supporting me, praying for me or sending good vibes, makes me happy. Also, it’s a welcomed distraction to talk about anything other than my cancer. I think some people feel that they shouldn’t but I appreciate it.”
I imagine Sarah inherits a lot of her strength and purpose from her own mother Linda, who along with her husband Mike, is there for her every step of the way.
When I asked Sarah what she thought of the video, she said it was “overwhelming” and “emotional” and “amazing” but ultimately, it was the lighthearted moments that stood out to her the most.
“I laughed when I saw Austin drop the silverware after dinner and when I found him peeing outside. At the time, it was somewhat frustrating but now it’s funny. Just shows how those incidents are so minor in the scheme of things. The long and short of it is that I am a mother who happens to have cancer. It’s not my identity or who I am. I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend.”
Please leave a comment in support of Sarah and her beautiful family below.
This post is part of the “Extraordinary Families” series sponsored by Allstate. “Extraordinary Families” aims to show what life is like, sun up to sun down, for families facing (and overcoming!) unique and challenging circumstances. As the nation’s largest publicly held insurance company, Allstate is dedicated to protecting what matters most.
Sarah and Mike,
I don’t know you, but I will pray for you and your situation. You have a wonderful support system. (Your momma is doing what mommas do best!) You were brave for sharing. Thank you. Keep the positive attitude. That’s half the battle. But remember it’s ok to let your guard down as well.
Lots of prayers, thoughts, and good vibes coming your way.
What an amazing family! Your little boy seems so happy and he’s lucky to have you both.
Wow. This hits home. It’s beautiful. I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma right after my daughter’s first birthday and though I am considered cured now, so much of what she said is exactly what I experienced. You smile to make yourself feel better, you do what you can because you’re a mom, and what are you supposed to do? Sit around feeling sorry for yourself? What a lovely and strong family. My prayers are with them as this is such a hard thing to do and they do it as beautifully as it can be done. Her family is amazing.
Me too! Hodgkins lymphoma when my daughter was 17 months. 2 years clean now. You just get up and do what you gotta. Mommy is mommy even with chemo, cancer, and Neulasta. And thank you for my mom, who like hers came down for every treatment to help so my husband could work.
Love the concept of this series, and this first family definitely is extraordinary. Such love & fun & laughter through it all. Love, love, love!
I am 33 and in February 2016 I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Diffused Large B Cell non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. 2 surgeries, 4 chemo treatments, 18 radiation treatments later there is no evidence of the disease. I am in awe of your ability to function on chemo day. After 8 hours of receiving treatment I was almost non-functioning. The next day was the worst. My daughters are 2 and 7 and they were my biggest cheerleaders. My husband and mother in law were amazing helps. My mil also took me from my chemo treatments and watched my daughter for me as well as the 2 other little girls that I watch daily. I commend you for your strength and I pray for you.
What an amazing family. You definitely learned how to be an amazing mother from your amazing mother. Your love for your family shows in how they love you back. Sending you thoughts of love, light and healing.
My nine year old cancer patient wishes you the best. She has leukemia, and her first day of school will be November 21st.
Such a beautiful family you have, and you obviously shape so much of that! Praying for you.
Sarah, you are an inspiration! You have a beautiful family and Austin is adorable! You are right when you say “I’m still his mom” and your mom is also amazing by the way! The apple didn’t fall far from the tree with you. I wish you health and happiness in your future.
Wow, I have no words. Your video made me smile through the tears. Pray that your family makes it through to see the rainbow at the end of this journey. Keep being strong and amazing for that little boy of yours, and kudos to your husband and mom for being amazing too!
Sending good thoughts and love to this mama. Such a beautiful, inspiring family.
Wow, where to start. Sarah, you are an EXTRAORDINARY human being and your family is beautiful. Thank you for sharing with us. I admire your honesty and courage. Keep fighting mama, that’s what we do best. biggest healing hug in the world to you.
Mommyshorts: THANK YOU for sharing Sarah’s story with us. Yes, it is heavy, but this is life. This is reality. Many families are dealing with this horrible disease and many others. I love that you provide humor and a fun break from our crazy lives, but it’s so important to acknowledge all types of families, even the ones dealing with heavy stuff like this. Makes you human, makes us human. We laugh and we cry. We play and we fight. That is parenthood.
Like your plaque on your wall says, “Fuck Cancer!” You are doing amazing and your son is so lucky to have such a brave, strong and loving mother. You are in my thoughts and prayers. (((HUGS)))) to you and your family.
You guys are amazing! Austin’s laugh is infectious…I was laughing along with him. Sending positive vibes & thoughts your way.
What an amazing family! Thank you so much for sharing your story! You will be in my prayers!!!
Prayers are with you and your beautiful family.
You are amazing Sarah!
Awesome family! Go Team Bennett…kick that cancer’s a$&!! We will pray for you all.
Thank you Mommy Shorts for sharing real life.
What an amazing person, woman and especially Mom. You are truly an inspiration and an example of bravery and resilience of spirit.
What a beautiful family and story. Thank you for sharing! I will keep Sarah in my thoughts and prayers.
Lots of prayers and good thoughts for you and your family.
Precious story and so grateful you are sharing for other families like yours. I’m an oncology nurse and I know you are an EXTRAORDINARY FAMILY!
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us!! You are truly an amazing and extraordinary family!! Keep on fighting momma, we are all cheering you on!!!!
You are such a beautiful person and have such a wonderful support system which is key when it comes to cancer. You continue to amaze me with your “Can Do” attitude!! Kick cancers Butt!!
Wow. Just wow. Thank you for sharing your incredible journey and courage with us.
Our prayers are with you! You are amazing! I actually clicked on your story just because I wanted to watch it, then realized when I saw Mike step in that I went to high school with him! He has a heart of gold, and I’m sure you do too. Keep on going, mama! Fight the fight!
It was amazing to hear your story! Thank you for sharing your beautiful family. I am wishing you all the best.
What an extraordinary family to begin this new series with! Thank you for sharing your story with us. Sending love and positive thoughts to you!
Thank you for sharing your beautiful family and daily life. Your love for your family shines.
What a sweet family you have, Sarah, and what an obviously wonderful mother you are! I have a little boy just a bit younger than yours and so many things that I saw reminded me of him! Motherhood by itself is the hardest but also the most beautiful gift I’ve ever received, and I can see you feel the same way. Your strength amazes me and I wish you all the best in your journey. I can tell that you’ll never stop fighting. My prayers and thoughts will be with you.
What a touching story. Thank you for sharing. Keep fighting. You are strong. Sending love from Chicago.
Oh mama, you are beautiful, you are strong, and you are a great mother to that little boy. I, along with so many other people, will be keeping you and your family in our prayers.
You are extraordinary Sarah! Keep up the fight, I am amazed by your strength.
Wow. Sarah, I’m in awe of you. You certainly live up to the title of extraordinary. How strong and loving you are to be as present as you are for your family, despite what you’re going through. We learn how to be moms from our mothers, and clearly you are learning from the best. Much love to you and your sweet family. Praying for your health and the strength for you to get through this. p.s. Love the handmade fuck cancer plaque. Nice touch.
Wow. Just wow. I have been there, I am still there many surgeries and chemo drugs and radiation treatments later. I am grateful for your reminder that ‘I have two legs’, it’s hard to remember when you feel so weak so often. You’re doing good things, thank you for sharing.
Dear Sarah, I commend you on your bravery. You are one tough cookie, and I know you will keep on “kickin’ cancer’s butt” !! Praying for you and your wonderful family.
Wonderful wonderful story! Your family is so beautiful. Keep fighting. Don’t worry that your son only sees you sick; this is all he knows. He thinks all moms fight cancer.
Prayers and thoughts flying your way?
Sending so much love your way. You’ve got a beautiful family, and you are just all aces. I’m wishing you all the best.
God bless you Sarah!
Your smile and great spirit is an example to follow ❤
Im sending you te best energies from really far away (Argentina). My thoughts and best wishes are with you!
Bravo to you and your family for being so strong. I don’t know you but I am proud of you anyway for being the best mom, wife, and daughter you can be in your situation. As my boyfriend always says to me, “you got this”.
Ohhhhhhhh I cried……????.. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️To you,mama!!
My children and l have travelled the cholangiocarcinoma journey with their dad and my husband and pop to his grandchildren. It’s a very tough road.xxx
I can relate to how you feel. I will keep you in my thoughts.❤️
Thank you for sharing your story Sarah! I love seeing your “village” helping out. Sending lots of good thoughts your way! ??
This is the definition of an extraordinary family. I am so glad this family wanted to share with us. Very well done! And good luck to them all as they move forward as a family.
Sarah, your story is an inspiration to others. Your strength and love is the guiding force of your family, not to mention your infectious smile. I am praying for your speedy recovery.
Sending thoughts, love and prayers to your family! You have amazing strength. Thank you for the reminder of how precious life is. You have an incredible family.
“Shucks!” Sarah and her family are all extraordinary–they share so much love, support and happiness in an unthinkable situation. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us.
Yes! Everything everyone above said about your bravery and strength and awesomeness! You GO girl!
And might I add, I laughed out loud (while the tears ran down my face) because I have actually told at least one of my children not to lick their shoes! 🙂
I will pray for you and your family, sweet mama. You hang in there! And thanks for inspiring me – I have a chronic illness that I struggle with.
You got this! You most definitely are extraordinary. Sending all sorts of positive love and light to you and your family.
Sarah, you and your family are extraordinary and inspirational! The video really shows the love your family shares, and it is beautiful! I will be praying for you!
My dear sarah. May I first say these three things. God is in control. God is able. His timing is perfect. I am gong through lymphoma right now but nothing compared to you having a small child who may not understand my mommy is sick. Continue to believe that Jesus is holding on to you during this journey and he will not let go. Just let him hold you. I will be praying for your endurance through all of this. I cling to Ephesians 3:20. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us
Sending so much love and strength to you, Sarah!! You have a precious family and it’s clear how much they love you. What an inspiration you are! Keep fighting, my dear. You’ve got this! XOXO
Thoughts and prayers to your beautiful, extraordinary family. Thank you for sharing your story with us!
I loved your spirit and I’m sure that is how your son will remember his childhood, his mom who did everything you doing as a mom.
Sending love to you & your family.
This is so beautiful!! Thank you Sarah and family for sharing your story with us. You’re amazing and the true definition of what it means to be extraordinary. I’ll be keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers ❤️
Watching this brought tears to my eyes. I have a son your age, and I tried to imagine being in your shoes. Having a toddler is exhausting when healthy, and even more so if one’s body is sick and weak. I love and admire your positive attitude and your commitment to getting healthier for you and your family. I will pray for you and your medical team as you fight the cancer. I think it’s wonderful that you have such amazing support from your mother and husband. I hope you are able to spend many years with your beautiful family and grow old. Sending love and light your way.
Sarah- you and your family have my prayers! Thank you for sharing your story. And thank
You Ilana for helping!
this was a beautiful and moving insight into this strong family. I hope you get better soon Sarah, I keep you all in my prayers!
I knew this video was going to make me cry, so I had been waiting to do it at a good time at home in the evening. But with kids and chores, that still isn’t easy to find. I didn’t want to wait, so I closed my office door and just watched it during my lunch break.
I’m so glad for the light music, paralleling Sarah’s goal to keep things positive during a difficult situation. (otherwise there would have been so many more tears in my office!)
Sarah, you are so extraordinary. The positivity that you bring to your struggle is hard to imagine for myself, but evident in the video.
I’m so glad you have such great support system. I’ll pray that next year, there will be a follow-up video of your success.
Austin looks healthy, happy, troublesome, energetic and loved – so loved.
Thank you for giving your story to us.
Also, you look incredible, despite what you are going through. I don’t care you made special effort for filming day. Or even if you did, I feel it shows your strength to keep that normalcy and “best face” forward. (ha! a pun! I intended that).
Thank you for everything you said. I actually didn’t pit on my face just for the camera. I often put some effort into makeup hengoimg to treatment because it makes me feel better. However, there are many days of no make up and/or hair washing. Haha
Please excuse my typos. I’m falling asleep as I type.
Wow this family! Thank you for sharing. Wishing them the best.
Thank you so much for sharing your amazing story! Your smiling face and positive attitude seems to carry throughout your family and I can see the strength of each person in your support system. I am sending you the best of wishes and prayers for effective treatment and hope that you will become forever cancer-free!
Keep fighting, and keep that positive attitude! You have a beautiful family, extraordinary indeed. Best of luck, prayers coming your way Sarah.
I just wanted to let you all know I read each and every one of your commets. It means the world to me to have so much support from complete strangers. Mommy Shorts has the best readers/followers!
So thankful that you shared your story Sarah. It was very brave of you to do so. I am also thankful you have such a great support system. You got this girl!! Love the part about shoe licking ?! Keep fighting for that precious family!
Omg thanks for the vid. And your story! I cried and laughed. We have a three year old son exactly like yours!! Imagined how I would be trying to do just like you do be there with a smile, fighting and pressing on. I’ll be praying for your long way ahead to be a huge victory. You rock and you and your family are truly extraordinary! Love from Poland, Europe ❤️
Yes this story was heavy. Yes this story made me cry. But it also made me smile. Its real life. I think often we want to gloss over these kind of stories because they make feel uncomfortable. Life is often uncomfortable! Sarah and her family (and the many other families that are battling through cancer and other sickness) need to know that even if we don’t know what to say we are rooting for them! Sarah you are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your life with us.
Thank you for sharing this story and family. I cried tears while watching this and will be praying for this extraordinary family. But more than anything, I saw a family doing what families do. Supporting each other and pushing through each day to parent their adorable son in the best way they know how. Sarah, you are an amazing mother. Sending you much love.
Your family is so beautiful! Wow. I see my son in your Austin. Happy and energetic and always wanting to help! You can see that he is truly loved by you all. I truly believe that kids feed off the emotions of their parents. That kid is a ray of sunshine so he must be witnessing it first-hand from mom and dad. Such good people! I can’t imagine your fight with cancer and the ups and downs. You handle it so well. Your story reminds me that every day is important. Keep up the great work, little momma!
I love this story! I cried and I laughed and I love your attitude about it all. I hope you get to be old one day too 🙂 Wishing you and your family the best! Happy thoughts! Stay strong!!
Praying for this beautiful strong momma and her family!! She is my age and I cannot even imagine the physical and emotional pain she is going through. I pray that you beat this. xoxo
The whole video was great but moment that made touched me the most was one of the most ordinary moments. It was you putting Austin to bed and him snuggling and rubbing his eyes on your lap while you read to him. You were the only one he wanted. What a beautiful little boy. Reminds me of my own son. My wish for you is you are able to grow old and drive slow. 🙂 We should all be so lucky for the chance to live a long life.
You have a beautiful story and I feel lucky to have been able to connect through this project with you. I wish you all the best in your journey. Your positivity is inspiring. Opening yourself up to share a day in your extraordinary life is brave and powerful.
Sending love and prayers to you and the people that love you.
You exemplify what it means to be a parent. You are amazing. You will beat this, I believe this with all my heart. Sending light, love, prayers and whatever else good I can to you and your. rock on Momma, you got this.
Sarah, your story is so inspiring. You are beautiful and you have a beautiful family. Much love to you all as go on this journey that is life.
What a beautiful family. Your son is adorable, I loved it when he drops the silverware and says, aw shucks! <3
God Bless you and give you strength as you keep powering through. Prayers for a lifetime of NED
[…] https://www.mommyshorts.com/2016/09/extraordinary-family-friday-bennetts.html […]
Update: Sarah Bennett passed in September 2018. She was able to reach her milestone and send her son Austin to kindergarten.
We are deeply saddened by her passing and miss her dearly!