At the age of 19, I received a phone call from my mother who was crying. She was inconsolable.  She had just been diagnosed with breast cancer.

I had been living in Wilmington for a year at the time, and my relationship with my mother had been rocky. I was a bratty teen on her own for the first time, and I just didn’t have time for my mother (or for any authoritative figure for that matter). We had our issues, that’s for sure, but in this moment, I thought I was going to lose her. The regret that filled my bones was heavy and deep.  I remember almost not answering the phone call, but for some reason I did. As I listened to my mother share her news with me, the heaviness weighed me down.  The next thing I know, I’m on the floor bawling.  Was I going to lose my mother?  Is she going to leave this world thinking that I hate her?  I was not going to let that happen.

I packed my bags, and I went home to Raleigh where she was prepping for her mastectomy.  She was a MESS.  The night before her surgery, she came into my room with all of her bras in her hand.  She said, “You can have these since I won’t need them anymore.” Needless to say, we both broke down at that moment. I told her to keep her bras. I told her that she was going to be okay, and that once she healed we were going to get her BIGGER, BETTER TATAS!  Most importantly, I told her that I loved her with all of my heart. We laughed as we cried. We hugged as we hoped. My mother became my best friend in this moment, and she still is to this day.

After five years in remission, the doctors told my mother that she is considered to be CANCER FREE. My mother was not going anywhere. My best friend was here to stay.

In a way, I believe that breast cancer brought my mother and I together.  I believe that our close relationship helped her fight. I didn’t know it at the time but thinking back, I realized I always wanted that relationship with my mother, but I was just too stubborn to allow it.

You may be wondering, “what does this have to do with GoalFriends?”  Let me tell you.

I am 26 years old, and I was introduced to GoalFriends through my job.  For those of you who don’t know, I am the chief Graphic Designer for GoalFriends. I never had any intentions of actually forming my own group, but working with Darlene Whitehurst, it’s IMPOSSIBLE not to feel inspired.  My mother asks me every day how work is going, and I share everything with her since she’s my best friend.  Of course, I told her about GoalFriends!  I told her how I wasn’t sure if I was interested in starting my own group. You know what she said? She said, “Kelly, you never know what’s going to happen in your life. You never know when you’re going to leave this world. Don’t give yourself the chance to miss out on something great.”

So, here I am, tearing up as I write about my mother and my GoalFriends. My group and I had our first meeting last week.  As we shared our bucket list with each other, I realized something so interesting.  I was thinking, “Wow.  These women are my best friends, some of which I have known for more than 10 years, and here I am LEARNING things about them that I never knew!”  It was so eye-opening.  As girls, we chat, we share, we talk about things we like or don’t like.  We talk about boys, clothes, work, secrets, etc.  However, I didn’t know things about my friends such as someone wanting to hike the Appalachian Trail, or that both my roommate and I want to live on a farm!  I was experiencing a whole new level of connection with these girls.  Not only was I learning things about them, I was learning things about myself!  I was listening to them share and thinking to myself, “Yes, I want that too!”  As I spoke about my dreams, they questioned me and pushed me to go deeper.

That said, I encourage you!  Whether you are young or old, whether you want to start a group with your besties or meet new women, please join GoalFriends because when all is said and done, there is no room for regret in your life!  As my mother who is my best friend told me, “Don’t give yourself the chance to miss out on something great.”

Kelly Kolb, GoalFriend since 2018

Graphic Designer, GoalFriends

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