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How Cancer Prepared Eddie Connor for Life
Most 15-year-old boys battle their parents for a later curfew, poor grades, or a cell phone. But at age 15, Eddie Connor was fighting non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma – stage four cancer. A fight he’d win. And after thirteen years of being cancer-free, Eddie’s test is now his testimony in resilience, strength, and inspiration. This is his story.
Living in metro Detroit, Eddie partially grew up in Kingston, Jamaica, known for high rates of poverty, crime, and resilient people. His mother, Dr. Janice Connor, a single working mother and author of Propelling Faith, did missionary work there and instilled values of faith, hard work, and positivity in her son. The idea of optimism and faith would be central to Eddie and his medical issues years later. In fact, it would become a platform to connect to the world. But before the happy times, there was a valley.
“The lowest point for me was in the bathroom, looking in the mirror. I had been getting doses of chemotherapy and radiation in my veins and after 2 weeks, the docs said I might lose my hair. But I hadn’t seen it happen. So I wasn’t too worried. And one day in the bathroom mirror, I placed my hand in my hair and felt clumps of hair in my hands. I cried like a baby. It haunted me because my body was disintegrating. I fell into a depression and my biological dad was not there for me. It was a hard time.”
Candidly recalling his trials with his illness, recovery, and an absentee father, Eddie also reflects on his blessings. Today he’s a school teacher and author of inspirational books, “Since I have been blessed, I feel I have an obligation to be a blessing to other people. The books were born from the pain I’ve endured.”
Spending time with Eddie, one quickly gets the sense he’s driven to inspire and help others overcome. It’s no wonder the teacher could eventually become a minister. “Ministry is a mission of mine, probably since age 12. I think all of the work I’ve been doing and all of the opportunities to empower people are rooted in ministry.” In fact, Mr. Connor preached his first message, after being diagnosed with cancer, at the age of fifteen in Kingston, Jamaica proclaiming from Psalm 118:17, “I shall not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord.” Eddie affirms that he was “destined to overcome the odds.
“We all deal with moments of depression, moments of negativity, but it’s what you do with those thoughts that matter. Do you allow them to fester in your mind? Or do we eject those thoughts out of mind? I often say that if I can overcome cancer I can get through this [negative] situation. I have faith, I have fortitude. I won’t quit. I won’t give up. I will overcome.”
Eddie Connor shares his story of overcoming cancer in his three books, “Purposefully Prepared to Persevere”, “Collections of Reflections: Symphonies of Strength, Volumes 1-3”, and “E.CON the ICON: from Pop Culture to President Barack Obama”. He can be reached via his website and is also available for public speaking engagements.