The Connection Between Chanukah and Cancer


This week I received an email from a friend who is fighting cancer. I was so moved by Joanne’s bravery and strength and I’m honoured that she allowed me to share her words here.

And what better time to share a letter of Hope and Light, than on the eve of Chanukah, the “Festival of Lights.”

This is no doubt an incredibly challenging time in Joanne’s life. But her email below is a powerful message about finding Light in the darkness. And while I have come to understand (and am still learning) that the flames of the Chanukah candles we are about to light are delivering some important messages, after stumbling upon an excerpt from, the connections between Joanne’s message and Chanukah are (pun intended) illuminating.

Please read for yourself.

And this Chanukah, let’s all follow Joanne’s shining lead and let the Light in!

Excerpt from 

So what are those flickering flames telling us? 

Never be afraid to stand up for what’s right.

Judah Maccabee and his band faced daunting odds, but that didn’t stop them. With a prayer on their lips and faith in their heart, they entered the battle of their lives—and won. We can do the same.

A little light goes a long way.

The Chanukah candles are lit when dusk is falling. Perched in the doorway, they serve as a beacon for the darkening streets. No matter how dark it is outside, a candle of G‑dly goodness can transform the darkness itself into light.

Take it to the streets.

Chanukah is unique in that its primary mitzvah is observed in public. It’s not enough to be a Jew at heart, or even at home. Chanukah teaches us to shine outwards into our surroundings with the G‑dly glow of mitzvahs.

Like the Maccabees, Joanne is in a battle…but her bravery shines through.

Joanne’s Light (and the Light of all who join her movement) will certainly go a long way – you can’t get bigger than savings lives!

And with her permission, I’ve taken her message to Facebook…the biggest “street” in the world.

A Letter by Joanne Godel-Blatt 

Dearest friends and family, 

Those who know me, know the following….I am not a fan of big crowds and gatherings. I prefer a quiet forest to a loud party.  I don’t live publicly, sharing little to nothing in the social realm. I am many things, both great and short-coming, and have many temperaments; introverted and outgoing, silly and serious, modern yet old fashioned, stubborn and tenacious, strong and yes, afraid. I love my life and family and feel blessed by all that surrounds me. 

Right now, I am also fighting cancer.  But this does not define me. 

To say we have all been touched by cancer would be an understatement. It’s a disease that unfortunately spares no one. Each of us has seen a close friend or loved one suffer. And that extends to family, siblings, spouses, and close friends. 

But know this…..what you see along this journey is more than disease. The care I have received at the Princess Margaret Cancer Center is like no other. I am amazed at the amount of positive energy and inspiration that reside here. Visit PMH and you will see Angels walking the halls dressed as surgeons and doctors and nurses and volunteers, and musical therapists and spiritual counsellors and various other staff who love what they do and make you feel like you are their number one priority on your return to wellness. I am truly grateful for the devotion, care and kindness that is always overflowing. 

 Our hardest job in life is deciding how to handle circumstances we didn’t necessarily “choose”.  

As I said above, I don’t live publicly. But with this letter I am stepping out of my comfort zone. You’re receiving this because I believe in community. I believe in the strength of numbers. I want to turn this little lemon into abundant lemonade. For me, working on a project is a great distraction. And a source of inspiration and motivation is to have a goal. I want to do something really great. I am asking for your support. Help me get there!

I’d like to invite you to join my team, led by our captain, my amazing husband Warren, as we hit the road to conquer cancer. This June marks the 10th anniversary of this epic event which has raised millions and millions of dollars for PMH in the fight against cancer.  I encourage you to visit The Conquer Cancer Site to learn more about this world class, top ranked amazing facility. 

TEAM JOANNE is now open and the training and fundraising has begun!

So help us fight by fundraising. Here’s a truth….10 years ago, even two years ago, we didn’t have treatment choices for certain kinds of cancer- today we do- we can only conclude that our dollars are working- so this year TEAM JOANNE will be trying to raise a huge sum of dollars to propel all the advances possible. Our $50,000 goal is aggressive but I know we can make it together. 

Here is the ask:  choose one or both options:

1.      Raise with us

2.      Ride and raise with us

If you ride with us you are committing to raising $2,500. An easy task for 7 months. 

You can participate by clicking here.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Thank you for your consideration and support!!  If you feel this is worthy of passing along to a friend I would also be most grateful. (Yes, virally..socially..)

All the best for a wonderful holiday season!!



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