Ex-Longhorn Meg Brown, now cancer-free, is really a traveling evangelist for hope, trust and luck

Ex-Longhorn Meg Brown, now cancer-free, is a traveling evangelist for hope, trust and luck

Meg Brown speaker

On her events of struggle and nights of fear, Meg Brown opened her journal. She often ended an entry with this: "I am cancer free today each day for the remainder of my life."

It had been part mantra, part plea, part petition to a power beyond her. Brown wrote those words when all she wanted to do was sleep or scream. She wrote it when she felt well enough to plot trips with friends to California and Iowa. And it's as true now because it was when she wrote it the first time.

Today, we find Brown in the Ann Richards School in Austin, where she teaches math and phys . ed .. She's get yourself ready for a half marathon. The dark-haired former University of Texas basketball player from Arlington bears no trace with the lymphoma that nearly killed her ten years ago. She's what she pledged herself to become.

Brown published her journal entries inside a book printed in 2006. She sells the book to be with her website, where she also books speaking engagements who have taken her to many cities like a traveling evangelist for hope, trust and luck. She was in Minneapolis last fall. There she met the person who gave her his bone marrow. He'd traveled from Germany to see the girl he saved.

"He just wanted to know how he did," says Brown, 32. "He was proud. He am happy he previously done something good."

She continues: "He expressed that via a translator, but I often see it as part of his face, in the eyes."

Through Brown's eyes, the planet is the same put it was before her diagnosis along with a vastly different tapestry of expertise since. She spent my youth inside a safe and loving home, untouched by sadness until her mother told the family in August 2001 that they had cancer of the breast.

Brown was devastated. "I just thought people got cancer and so they died," she says. "And that has been since i didn't know."

Brown already was sick but not aware of her illness. She'd finished playing for that Longhorns that spring, and throughout her last semester at Texas found herself wheezing on the slightest exercise, slimming down with out a diet, struggling to swallow ordinary food, coughing blood. The tumor squeezing her trachea was 18 centimeters when doctors think it is on Feb. 20, 2002.

Brown tells that story when she travels like a speaker. She describes the futility of learning, like a 22-year-old athlete, that using one day you hear that the mother has cancer and, on another, you discover you do, too. She covers the threat of wondering whether your soul will disintegrate or heal.

And she or he says she told herself: "I played for coach (Jody) Conradt for 4 years. I'm able to try this."

Brown spent 100 days in hospitals in Austin, Arlington and Dallas. She searched and saw things she'd never really seen. On her way home from treatment 1 day, she noticed a celebration of people with a bus stop in the Metroplex. She watched them closely by way of a prism she'd not had before.

"Some people looked sad. A few looked angry. There is just a little girl who just looked in a daze. I bawled. I looked over them and just realized: Who knows what that young daughter goes where you can?" she says. "It helped me understand that everybody is experiencing something."

Brown tells those stories when she speaks to groups. She tells these phones her students. She tells them to the ladies she coaches on the basketball and volleyball teams at Ann Richards.

She wants these phones understand that secret trials happens to people who hide them well. Sherrrd like the people she meets to care.

Brown visits her doctor regularly. Her blood counts remain good.

A disease in her own skin called graft-versus-host limits her capacity to be as active as she was before cancer. But she can do lots of the things she i did so. She could shoot a basketball along with her players if she wants to. She will carry on ski trips and long walks through her old neighborhood with her family, including her mother, who, with Brown's father, Ron, still lives within the same house where Brown and her older brother, Matt, was raised. She will train for any half marathon.

"It's a triumph of many things," says Brown's mother, Cathy, who has been free of cancer for 10 years. "A triumph of will. A triumph of determination. Along with a triumph of love and support."

Brown has entered the Livestrong Austin Half Marathon. It's scheduled for Feb. 19, the day before the 10th anniversary of her diagnosis.

She says she hasn't planned almost anything to note the occasion. "So I would observe it by being unable to walk perfectly," Brown says, finding humor inside the possibility.

She smiles. Her brown eyes glisten.

"But hey. I can walk."

Meg Brown speaker

krobbins@statesman.com; @TheBackspinATX; 445-3602

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