Last week I was absolutely dumbfounded when several readers and Facebook friends emailed me out of the blue to say that they nominated me for the WebMD Health Hero award.

My first thought was: WTF? Really?

My second thought was: THANK YOU. So. Very. Much.

What this did, however, was stimulate a wonderful thought process on what makes a hero and the heroes in my life (Silver Lining). 

Dictionary.com defines a hero as: a (wo)man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities. Full disclosure: I added the (wo).

To me, that definition sounds a little Superman-ish.  I happen to believe that heroes don’t have to change or save the whole world, all they have to do is find someone in need, and change their world.

Heroes come in many sizes, shapes and forms. More often than not, they are unknown, ordinary people who have a combination of determination, courage, dedication, and humanitarianism (not necessarily all at one time). The heroes I know have a genuine forgetfulness of self and willingness to sacrifice for others.

Heroes are present every day, everywhere.

Through my clinical work and The Silver Pen, I get to see heroes every-single-day. The heroes in my life are:

  • Each and every person who reaches out to share his or her story.
  • The nurses who cared for me during my FBC treatment.
  • The patients I sat next to in the chemo treatment room.
  • The loved ones who sat with the patients in the chemo treatment room.
  • My oncologist who tole me, “We will do whatever it takes to support you.”
  • The MRI technician who patted my arm and offered words of support when I went into the MRI tube.
  • The people who delivered food for my family when I was bald and drooling.
  • Sweetly Six’s preschool teachers who gave her extra hugs and support when I couldn’t.
  • The HOTY (a/k/a Husband Of The Year) is my ultimate hero!

Speaking of Superman, I happen to think that Christopher Reeve became a true Superhero after he was injured. His founding of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation (dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research, and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy) was his greatest heroic act.

How do you define a hero? Who is or has been an everyday hero in your life?

Leave a comment


  1. Adrienne says

    I chose the name Haley because it meant Hero . Do all names starting with H fall into this category ? At least two for sure ! Bravo Hero Hollye ! Blessings , A

  2. says

    My acronym for a definition of a hero:
    H – Help E – Everyone R – Restore O – Optimism

    Hollye, you are indeed that person who has helped those of us who have, or have had FBC proceed with optimism to the light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you for your blog, your positive outlook, and your sharing of fun and interesting happenings in your life.
    Congratulations on being nominated by WebMD to receive a hero's award. I think you are deserving of this honor.

  3. vincent kamin says

    Met Christopher Reeves in New York once in my friend's building. We rode up on an
    elevator. In that short time we exchanged pleasantries which left me with an insight
    to the man once he became paralyzed– his genteel nature at the time talking to a stranger
    is what I felt sustained him through his ordeal–the ability to embrace a stranger in such
    a cordial manner… In later encounters, he remembered my name and remained the man
    behind the man behind the cape. Genuine.

  4. Kim C says

    I'm inspired daily with all the thought and effort you put into your blog. For me, it's helpful, encouraging and pretty darn fun! But, I don't believe a hero needs to sacrifice for others. When we help other people, places and things – we help ourselves too. Your facebook friends are right! You are a hero!

  5. Elle Spiro says

    I agree with your definition of hero and I totally support and applaud your nomination!

    I look forward to reading your blog every day – it centers me and redirects me if I'm straying due to 'life' and my own current health conditions. I've passed your link along to dear friends who are facing medical challenges and I know that your words bring comfort to them also.

    My surgery is scheduled for next Monday and as soon as I'm home I'll want to go to my computer to see what photos, words of kindness and wisdom you've shared while I was away. I hope you know that YOUR caring and sharing does make a difference.

    • says

      Thanks so much for your note, Elle. It means so very much to me.
      Sending you my very best wishes for your surgery on Monday. Please stay in touch and let me/us know how it goes.
      All my best wishes,