Faith, Friends, and a Garden of Love

Allison Rodgers first came to Cincinnati Friends Meeting in 1999. Baptist by background, she initially found the silence of the Quaker way of worship intimidating. Over time, she grew to love the silence and the peace, “the stillness inside that God gave me. I enjoyed the sermons and the peace and social justice concerns, along with a welcoming spirit. I felt at home the first meeting I attended.”


Ten years later, in June 2009, Allison was diagnosed with Stage 3A kidney cancer. She continued attending worship even during the hard times of her treatments. It has been too long since she has sat among us, stood to share her ministry, or updated us on her continuing journey of finding comfort in faith in the midst of the struggle with the ravages of cancer. She has taken time in that struggle to share her own words with us now, and we are filled with gratitude for that.


~ Judy Leasure

I initially felt very scared. Throughout the first and second years, I had a very rough time. Not only did I have a cancer diagnosis, but I went through a hard break-up. During the third through eighth years, I continued to grow spiritually, even as my illness kept me isolated at home. I finally started to learn about and understand God, the Bible, and what it all meant to me.

I finally accepted that I was forgiven by God, and I rejoiced! It’s far easier to forgive others than to forgive yourself. It took another few years and a period of a non-relationship with my daughter for me to forgive myself, to know how much I am loved and forgiven. Now I am at a place where I’ve learned to pray first when things are going wrong and to talk it over with God.

I feel God has allowed me to use cancer for a ministry I never thought I was capable of. During chemotherapy times at the infusion center (which lasted up to eight hours daily every other week for two years), I turned my jewelry-making skills into a ministry by creating salvation bracelets. The bracelets gave me a way to walk up to people and engage them in conversations about faith. Often I would be asked to pray with these other cancer patients. I probably gave away more than 200 bracelets (with support for supplies from JOANN Fabrics in Evendale). Some of these people became my friends. Some have died. Some of their widows still keep in touch with me.

I recently decided to stop treatments because they were not working and I had been determined at Stage 4 to quit for awhile. I had tried one last medication that just about killed me, as well as radiation treatments, all to no avail. Hospice was my next step. I decided to let go and let God completely. I felt I had done what God wanted me to do. I was beyond tired.

I wouldn’t change it now for anything. Even though I have gone through a lot of physical and emotional pain, I felt and feel God working in me. I know that whatever happens is His will. If He brought you to it, He will see you through it.

Linda Daigle, a friend of Allison's and a member of our Meeting, helped coordinate the efforts to brighten Allison's patio garden with this planned act of kindness, including gathering photos and notes from Cincinnati Friends to include in the scrapbook. Pictured among the balloons and beauty are (back row) Marty Hovey, Denise Hovey, Mary Riley, Teri Fox, and Andy Heape. Pictured in front are Vicky Gundrum and Linda Daigle. Gardeners not pictured include Nicole Fry and Christine Doverspike.

My family and friends know my appreciation for birds and flowers. My bed is located in the living room looking out through a wall of glass into my fenced-in patio. I have been sick in that bed for the past few months.

One sunny Saturday in early May, I was sleeping late as usual. My nurse tried to keep the blinds closed, knowing that secretly my friends were on the patio quietly and feverishly working and restoring my untended garden. They brought in new plants, mulch, balloons, pictures, a sculpture, potted plants, and much love.

When the blinds were open all the way, I saw a flash of color and light. I had tears of joy and disbelief—overwhelmed by the wonderful people God has brought into my life. coming together to brighten my day. Some provided funds for the flowers. Some sent words of inspiration and pictures for a scrapbook, while others pulled weeds and planted this most beautiful of gardens. Thank you. Thank you to all!

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