It all started on a bus. One early morning I climbed onto a bus headed to Tallahassee to help advocate for more cancer funding and I sat next to a woman who would become my best friend and the person who I still seek advice from. Ellen Mahoney Stephenson was newly diagnosed with breast cancer when we met. You’d never know it from her infectious smile and, “It will not beat me.” attitude. That one bus trip turned into a long sisterhood of friendship with many cancer-driven ups and downs. Chemo days especially stunk, but in true Ellen form we always went to Cracker Barrell afterward so she could eat some strange concoction of foods that the drugs told her she wanted (think eggs and sour kraut.) After 9 years Ellen earned her wings and is now my guardian angel. As such, I protect her, too. I run for her (we both need to stay in shape!) And I am a better person for knowing and loving her.