To meet LaKeisha Lay of Boutte, one would never know the adversity she battles each and every day.
Lay was diagnosed with lymphoma in February of 2016. Even so, according to her sister Tenesha, Lay maintains the same upbeat, positive attitude and go-getter attitude she had before learning of her diagnosis.
And though her sister doesn’t ask for much, Tenesha says, many in the community have been answering a recent request she has made in order to bring her a little bit more sunshine as she attempts to beat her illness.
LaKeisha’s birthday was Sunday, and she made a special request through her Facebook page Sept. 1. Her post read:
“With all that’s going on, I didn’t realize that my bday is right around the corner. It would be awesome if y’all sent me cards … I’m not soliciting donations, it would be awesome to just have cards from all my friends. Due to my chemo schedule, I had to postpone my bday trip by a couple weeks, but I promise to take every card I receive with me and read them while I’m on my vacay. Sometimes, it’s just the simple things.”
“She hardly ever asks for anything,” said Tenesha, who shared the post on her own Facebook page and spread the word. “She’s such a giver … always giving, giving, giving. I thought we could come together and grant a special request for her.”
Though LaKeisha’s birthday has passed, belated cards and drawings are certainly welcome, Tenesha said.
“She’ll celebrate it all month long, typically,” Tenesha said with a laugh. “People have been sending from churches, teachers have been getting students to send them. They’re coming in, and she’s been very excited to get them.”
In addition to recognizing LaKeisha’s birthday, the cards may also offer well-wishes for another reason: Sept. 15 is World Lymphoma Awareness Day, dedicated to raising awareness of a cancer increasing in incidence.
It wasn’t that long ago that LaKeisha was on the other side of offering a similar kind of moral support. She had seen a news item about Aaron Stamper, a Kentucky boy suffering with his own illness who had made the same kind of request for birthday cards, and it inspired her.
She went to work quickly, sharing the information on Facebook and collecting cards from her own family and friends to send. Ultimately, she mailed nearly 200 birthday cards to Stamper, finding a way to brighten his birthday.
“If you didn’t know her story, you’d never know she had cancer,” Tenesha said. “She’s very upbeat. She’s doesn’t let it get her down. It’s only really been recently she hasn’t been able to get up and go since she’s been diagnosed.”
Those who would like to send cards may do so by mailing them to LaKeisha Lay, P.O. Box 272, Boutte, LA 70039.