This June, we’re sharing a new testimonial—from an Abide community member—on the blog every Tuesday. It’s Testimonial Tuesday! If you read our latest blog or listened to the Abide podcast, then you’ve already met Yoli Origel—a 13-year breast cancer survivor. Today, we’re excited like to share more of her incredible fight and faith journey.
Yoli heard the word “cancer” for the first time when she was just 7-years-old, as she watched her mother valiantly fight her own battle with breast cancer. While her mom ultimately lost—after 3 long years—her fight was nothing short of inspirational, and Yoli was with her at every step. While she didn’t know at the time, this was Yoli’s first experience as a “patient advocate”. Accompanying her mom to the many doctor’s visits, Yoli acted a translator, since her mom’s primary language was Spanish. “Even as a child, I understood the difficulties of having a language barrier,” Yoli explained, “and I felt the pressure of having to provide accurate medical information to help my mom make medical decisions.”
Shortly after her diagnosis, Yoli’s breast surgeon reached out, asking her to mentor other newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. Years later—after surviving a cancer battle of her own—Yoli continued to mentor many patients, eventually starting her own nonprofit, Cancer Kinship, to further support cancer patients in their journey. Cancer Kinship is dedicated empowering cancer survivors to confidently face their diagnosis through peer mentorship, individualized and group support, survivor education, and socialization. It’s a powerful community of cancer survivors—at any stage of their fight—braving the storm together with confidence and fearlessness. “I never wanted to be an expert in cancer survival,” Yoli told us, “but I braved the storm and in the process, I’ve learned a lot about cancer; the fear it instills, its harshness to the body, but most importantly, I’ve learned about the healing power of human connections and the resiliency of a cancer fighter’s spirit.”
We sat down with Yoli to ask her a few questions about meditation and faith. Read on to see her answers.
How can meditation be helpful for cancer survivors?
As a cancer patient and survivor, I found meditation to be very calming during high-stress situations such as preparing and going through cancer scans (PET, CT, MRI, etc.). I also found it helpful when my mind was ruminating and worrying about the future. It helped and continues to help me focus on the present moment. I do have to admit that practicing mindfulness and staying present is not an easy thing to do, but having helpful and practical tools to help keep you centered will help. That is the reason why I recommend using the Abide app to practice mindfulness. The prompts and helpful notifications (what I like to call gentle nudges) remind me to meditate and stay focused on the Lord’s word and will for my life throughout the day.
What’s your experience with Abide been like?
I’ve found the Abide app easy to use and very calming while trying to wind down from a very busy and stressful day. Ever since my cancer preventative hysterectomy, I’ve struggled with the effects of menopause, which includes insomnia. I have a hard time falling and staying asleep. I’ve been searching for a tool that will help calm my thoughts and I finally found one with Abide. I love that the meditations are bible-based, but even on days when I’m overstimulated and I need peaceful white noise, the relaxing soundscapes are incredibly relaxing too. My favorite is the warming beach fire and rain.
What’s your favorite story or meditation on Abide?
I recently listened to the “Be Still” sleep prayer that is centered on Matthew 8:23-26. What a wonderful reminder for us to refrain from worrying about the future. We are safe in the Lord. His provision, protection, and ever-present calmness can and will keep us comforted and calm during any storm. Click play below to listen to this meditation.
My favorite Abide bedtime story, to date, is the story of Esther – a Jewish woman who was made queen and chosen by God to serve His divine purpose by being a woman of action, wisdom, and discernment in all things. This incredible story is a powerful reminder for us to trust of the Lord’s divine purpose in our lives.
Did you lean on your faith during your treatment/diagnosis?
Yes, the Lord strengthened me during my cancer battle. I leaned on Him, wholeheartedly. I surrendered and gave my life to Him. I let go and released all my fears to Him. My faith empowered me to be courageous while going through cancer treatments and painful surgeries; even on days when by body felt like it couldn’t take any more. Many have asked how I am able to keep smiling after going through such physical and emotional trauma with my own cancer diagnosis, and loss of my mother and sister due to cancer. I tell them that it’s not me – it’s the Lord’s promise that has and will keep me going, regardless of my circumstances. And when the day comes that my earthly body will no longer be able to keep going, I will smile and be happy because of the Lord’s heavenly promise. What a blessing and a gift it is to live in complete trust and faith in Him.
Yoli’s courage is contagious, and we’re so grateful that she was brave enough to share her story with us. Have a testimonial that you want to share? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear your story too. Join us next week for another Testimonial Tuesday. In the meantime, download the Abide app now to hear more meditations, sleep stories, and music, and get access to our full library with 2,000+ pieces of content.