Joanna Burgess–Joy’s Way–A Journey of Survival, Hope and Inspiration – Reposted June 9 2012

Editor’s Note: In honor of Joanna Burgess being honored tonight (June 9, 2012) in Charlotte, North Carolina as this year’s  Great Comebacks® National Award recipient, we at Courage to Shine would like to re-post her original story “Joy’s Way – A Journey of Survival, Hope and Inspiration”

Originally Published on March 24, 2012:  Courage to Shine™ is honored to present the original story of Joanna Burgess’s amazing and inspirational life.  Joanna originally submitted the following story to be published in a major national magazine, but the magazine elected not to publish it, however their loss is Courage to Shine’s gain.  Joanna Burgess is a nurse, a cancer survivor, a wife and the 2011 Great Comebacks® South Region Award Recipient and you can find out more about Joanna Burgess at

Joy’s Way – A Journey of Survival, Hope and Inspiration

By Joanna J. Burgess

Joanna J. Burgess

As I stand at the podium, looking out over an audience of my nursing colleagues and people who have survived life changing illnesses, a memory from long ago comes to mind.  In my memory I feel peaceful, surrounded by a darkness that is full of flecks of sparkling light. I have a sense that I am floating.  I see myself reaching, extending my right arm toward some form of light.  I feel content. I am flying toward something unknown, and yet somehow known.  I am like an angel, with the tips of my wings resting on water, reaching up to move forward yet seeing ripples in the water below created by the part of me that is not yet ready to take flight. I breathe and I am home.  Whether a dream or vision I cannot say, yet I have had this memory since long before I could articulate it.  The memory exists in the periphery of my mind, and if I try to see it too clearly or directly, the image fades and then vanishes. But more important than the vision itself, I have carried throughout my life the memory of the feelings evoked by this vision. The essence of those feelings is in the knowing that I do not walk alone. In the decorated banquet hall in Chattanooga, Tennessee, I again want to reach my arm up to the source of the light, to say thank you. Thank you for getting me to this place.  I want to steadily and calmly express all that I need to say of hope, survival and gratitude.  I hold up my forefinger in front of the 200 waiting faces, a sign that I need a minute. I take a deep breath and start to tell my story.  It is the reason I have been asked to be here and to be a face of inspiration to others.

To read the rest of the story, please go to the original story,  click here


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