A Journey of Perseverance and Hope – By Jim and Bonnie Stoll
We were a typical family of four: Jim a pilot for United Airlines; Bonnie working part-time but mostly raising our two daughters, Amanda and Sarah; living in a small mid-west town. We loved to travel, sail and do many other family activities. All of this was interrupted on February 2, 2009 when Bonnie was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. Multiple Myeloma is a rare form of cancer that is treatable but not curable. At the time, we were told that Multiple Myeloma patients only live 3-5 years following diagnosis.
The news was overwhelming at first but with the help of family, friends, our church and faith we pushed through. Over the next seven months, our lives were filled with seemingly endless doctors’ visits, chemo and radiation treatments, and medications culminating in a stem cell transplant. We turned to our faith in God for strength, believing that He would see us through and provide healing. Two Bible verses we held close were: Romans 5:3-5 “but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, character, and hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” and Hebrews 6:19. “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”
Our family was determined to continue to live our lives and remain positive. However, it was not until November that we were able to sail again. We took a Thanksgiving trip with friends to Charlotte Harbor and the west coast of Florida where we adopted the quote “You can’t change the wind but you can adjust your sails.”
In December, after a long year of perseverance and hope, Bonnie achieved remission! It was a victory for all of us!
During the recovery process, we set a goal to get physically stronger and in the fall of 2012 we ran in our first Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation 5k in Chicago under the team name “Anchored in Hope.” The name is a loose paraphrase of Hebrews 6:19.
As our lives got back on track, we dreamed of owning our own cruising sailboat and one day living aboard and traveling the Caribbean. In September 2015, we made the decision to purchase a new Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 379. Although there were numerous suggestions for names, “Anchored in Hope” seemed like the inevitable choice.
Forever Anchored in Hope,
Jim and Bonnie Stoll