Editor's note: This is the seventh installment in a series of articles about Christians who rescue cultures. The first installment was The Servant; the second, The Courageous Coach; the third, Saving Our Kids; the fourth, Strength, Courage, Wisdom, and Guidance; the fifth, Prayer Warrior, the sixth, Saving Our Children from Hard Places. We hope that through this series you will be persuaded of God’s call for you to rescue the cultures you are in, that you will get ideas from the examples of others and that you will be encouraged to take action in rescuing the cultures around you.  

Some years ago, biologists at the University of California, San Francisco made a remarkable discovery while studying a group of women who cared for their disabled children. The scientists knew that individuals who experience one year under chronic stress typically show physical signs equivalent to six years of aging.  Not so with the group of women they were studying. They hadn’t aged rapidly. What made them different? On Christmas day in 1984, a member of the research team discovered hard evidence that explained why.  

As is turns out, the women met weekly to share their stories and support one another. They laughed. They cried. They loved one another and felt a sense of connection to the group. The weekly support meetings were triggering the production of an enzyme that was healing the stress-related damage to the women’s bodies. For discovering this healing enzyme they named “telomerase,” the three lead scientists involved in the discovery received the Nobel Prize.  In essence, they had discovered biological evidence for the healing power of love. 

Nine years ago next month, I learned firsthand about chronic stress and the healing power of love when my wife Katie was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer, less than a year after finishing treatment for breast cancer. There were times I struggled with anxiety from worrying that I might lose my beloved Katie, that our two young daughters might lose their wonderful mother, and that she might not see our daughters grow up. During that difficult season, God’s love and the love of our family, friends, and health care workers helped us get through. Today Katie is cancer free and the experience gave me a newfound appreciation for the importance of love and friendship in life. 

Last month Katie, her mother and sister, both of whom are also breast cancer survivors, traveled to the campus of Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth, Texas, to participate in the “Frogs for the Cure” halftime celebration at the TCU-Kansas State football game. (The TCU mascot is the horned frog.) They were there with our daughters who are students at TCU. 

Since 2005, Frogs for the Cure has been led by Ann Louden, a breast cancer survivor who is the TCU Chancellor’s Associate for External Relations. A committee of more than 100 students, faculty, staff, breast cancer survivors and members of the medical community plan Frogs for the Cure activities year-round. The idea of using sporting events to support breast cancer survivors has caught on. After TCU athletics sponsored the first football game dedicated to the breast cancer cause, other sports teams have followed its lead and now celebrate “pink ribbon” games to honor breast cancer survivors.