Meet Abide community member Yoli Origel—a 13-year breast-cancer survivor and founder and executive director of Cancer Kinship. Today, we’re excited to share her incredible cancer fight and faith journey, and how biblical meditations in the Abide app helped her stay calm in her cancer battle and mentor other cancer patients.
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 cancer battle. While her mom ultimately lost—after 3 long years—her cancer 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 Yoli’s diagnosis, her cancer surgeon reached out, asking her to mentor other newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. Years later—after surviving her cancer battle—Yoli continued to mentor many patients, eventually starting her own nonprofit, Cancer Kinship, to further support cancer patients in their journey.
Mentoring Others Through a Cancer Fight
Cancer Kinship is dedicated to 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 and how biblical meditation with Abide helped her in her cancer fight.
How can meditation be helpful for people during their cancer fight?
YO: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 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?
YO: 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 soundscapes are incredibly relaxing too. My favorite is the warming beach fire and rain.
What’s your favorite story or meditation on Abide?
YO: 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 a 2-minute version of 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.
(Click play below to listen to a snippet of this bedtime story.)
Did you lean on your faith during your treatment/diagnosis?
YO: Yes, the Lord strengthened me during my cancer battle. I leaned on him, wholeheartedly. I surrendered and gave my life to him. letting go and releasing all my fears to him. My faith empowered me to be courageous while going through cancer treatments and painful surgeries; even on days when my 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 the loss of both my mother and sister 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 cancer battle story with us. To gain access to the full-length version of these meditations and sleep stories, download the Abide app now using this link to receive 25% off our premium subscription. Our full library contains 2,000+ daily meditations, devotionals, sleep stories and more.