Oklahoma Christian University’s Director of Wellness Darci Thompson recently returned home from a treatment center in Mexico following her second diagnosis with breast cancer, this time Stage 4 in her bones.
Thompson said her time at the facility was beneficial, but intense. The treatments filled the majority of her day, and she said it was wonderful to return to Edmond, OK and enjoy time with her husband and two daughters.
“I was so excited to be back with my girls and spend some time with them and just not have to worry,” Thompson said. “For my treatments, I would wake up and they would start at 7:30 a.m. and didn’t finish until 4-6 p.m. every day. They were all great treatments; it was a really wonderful hospital. I just decided when I got home I wasn’t going to do anything for about a week and just be with the girls and try to get things figured out of what my next step will be in following through on my protocol at home.”
According to Thompson, the Oklahoma Christian community has been a strong support system throughout her medical journey. She said many individuals helped keep her responsibilities under control and on schedule during her absence.
“Lots of different people kind of took up slack for me at work so that I could be gone, and helped things kind of keep rolling,” Thompson said. “Now that I’ve been back, I can kind of jump back into things but not feel too overwhelmed either. I had so many cards and notes sent to me from people on campus that were awesome, so that just kind of gave me a lot more energy.”
In July 2017, Assistant Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Well-Being Teresa DeBoard and Spiritual Life Coordinator Summer Lashley created a GoFundMe campaign in order to raise money for Thompson’s treatments. Donors met the monetary goal of $40,000 within 24 hours of its initial post.
“I was overwhelmed when it was happening, but I wasn’t surprised,” DeBoard said. “I remember specifically one of the first nights right after we found out that her cancer was back, Summer Lashley and I and another friend of ours met just to pray together and she was talking about Mexico and I said well we’re going to do a GoFundMe, and we’ll have it.”
DeBoard said she knew they would raise the funds either through the GoFundMe page or another route, but she didn’t expect such immediate success. She said the outpouring of love was an incredible donation in itself.
“It was kind of this dichotomy of I knew it would happen, but I couldn’t have told you in 24 hours it was going to happen,” DeBoard said. “I kept texting Darci, I was like, ‘Do you see? Do you see how many people love you? Feel that. Because I think that’s such a part of healing too, is to feel that.’ To me it was more than the money. It was just people stepping up and saying ‘I want to be a part; I want to fight it.’”
According to DeBoard, the Oklahoma Christian community has surrounded Thompson and supported her. She said there are a lot of people who want to stand alongside Thompson, fight the disease and win the battle.
“I love Darci more than I can express,” DeBoard said. “She’s literally been my best friend for 21 years and we’ve been through a lot together and we’re going to beat it. We’re going to fight it all the way, and I’ll fight it with her the entire way. I think she knows that, and she has a lot of people willing to do that. She’s definitely not alone.”
Senior Reid Reding said it was exciting to see the improvements his aunt, Thompson, made during her time in the hospital. He said it helped to get updates on her experience in Mexico.
“Progressively she was getting better,” Reding said. “At the end she was like, ‘I’m having the best days I’ve had in a long time,’ so that’s super encouraging.”
Reding said Thompson is a strong person who has impacted people in not only the Oklahoma Christian community, but also the Edmond and Oklahoma City area. He said her faith is what keeps her spirits and energy up during the trials she is facing.
“She’s always had this passion to serve others and to stay motivated and be fit and healthy,” Reding said. “I think a lot of that comes from just her drive as a person in general. Her faith keeps her grounded in staying positive and staying who she is.”
Thompson said a strong faith and spiritual commitment is crucial to her journey.
“I know that if my spiritual walk and my faith and my mental focus isn’t in the right place, then healing can’t really happen,” Thompson said. “I’ve had to work on that. Faith has always been very significant to me and it’s the main part of who we are, our family, but we’ve been through a lot of things in the last five years and I don’t think I was really allowing my relationship with God to grow the way that it needed to.”
Although Thompson said it can sometimes be difficult to trust in God when things seem consistently negative, she knows He will ultimately take care of her.
“It’s kind of hard to put your faith and trust in God when you feel that way, but I think when you do, and you allow Him to really work, you’re blessed in ways that you can’t imagine,” Thompson said.