Nothing Can Steal This Clown’s Joy

My friend Bunnie is a redheaded, retired heavy equipment operator with a delightful New England accent who loves to laugh. On weekends she “clowns” around at the local Dairy Queen whipping up balloons and smiles for children. On weekdays she takes off her clown make-up and cooks hot meals, which she joyfully delivers to the homeless folks in a nearby neighborhood.

Did I mention that she has stage 4 tongue cancer, carries her portable oxygen tank everywhere and is on hospice?

The year before her diagnosis, Bunnie moved to Florida and wondered what she would do in her post-retirement life.

I was laughing so much, I dreamt I should be a clown,” she recalls with a chuckle. Bunnie Googled “clown schools,” found one only two hours from her new home, took the courses, and became a member of the Fellowship of Christian Magicians.

Then she began volunteering at her local Dairy Queen, performing magic tricks and twisting balloons into animal shapes. While the children enjoyed their ice cream, she shared character-building stories and told them about God’s love for them.

But in August 2013, the shows stopped when Bunnie was diagnosed with inoperable tongue cancer. Doctors told her that without chemo and radiation, she probably had six months to live. She was devastated with that prognosis, but resolute in her faith: “You can even take my tongue, and I’ll still find a way to share the gospel,” she announced to her doctor.

Bunnie had thirty-five radiation and eight chemo treatments. Following a two-week hiatus, she was back clowning at Dairy Queen.

After she read a copy of my first book, When God & Cancer Meet, Bunnie felt as if God were telling her to share her story by giving away copies of that book. So she bought dozens and passed them out to cancer patients and caregivers.

Then in May 2015 more bad news–a scan showed the cancer had spread to her lungs.

“I was really, really devastated for a little while—for maybe an hour or something,” she told me, chuckling on the phone, after we became Facebook friends. “The Lord said, ‘You’re still here for Me and I’m going to use you right here at the cancer center.’”

She headed back for more treatment and armed with more books (a final total of 425, she says!).

Think about it…Bunnie had every reason to be bitter—a devastating cancer diagnosis in a new state with no family nearby, just when she was ready to relax and enjoy retirement. Cancer of the tongue when she loves to talk fast and laugh often.

But Bunnie knows what I hope you do too—that your purpose in life never changes. It is the same whether you or your loved one has a lot of cancer, a little cancer, or no cancer. Your purpose in life—and mine—is to know God and love Him more, and to help others know God and love Him more.

Bunnie says her life verse is the same one I have chosen in my retirement:
“My life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the task assigned to me by the Lord Jesus
—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.”
 Acts 20:24

As long as you have breath (even if it’s from an oxygen tank), God is not finished with you!

Excerpted from Peace in the Face of Cancer ©2017 Lynn Eib. All rights reserved.

UPDATE: In 2018 Bunnie passed away, 4.5 years after her initial diagnosis.
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Please enjoy the incredible testimony and original song “These Walls” from Jason Davis, the pastor who lost 80-percent of his tongue to cancer.

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    • Barbara on November 8, 2023 at 8:43 AM
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    Love your stories that remind me …….God is not finished with me yet. I just shared a copy of “Peace in the Face of Cancer” with a member at church facing throat and stomach cancer. I pray your book is as helpful to him as it was to me. What a spiritual blessing you are to so many. Thank you Lynn.

      • Lynn on November 8, 2023 at 10:46 AM
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      Hi Barbara,
      I need that important reminder too! And thank you so much for sharing “Peace in the Face of Cancer’ with your friend. I truly wish no one needed my books, but I don’t think that’s going to happen this side of Heaven. In the meantime, I’m so grateful the Lord has chosen to use me for His glory.
      Lynn

    • Pat Bentzel on November 8, 2023 at 10:28 AM
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    Amen!!!

      • Lynn on November 8, 2023 at 10:45 AM
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      Hi Pat,
      Glad you enjoyed Bunnie’s story. It was nice to get to at least wave at you in person on Sunday! We will be back again the first Sunday in December so hopefully will get to see you then too!
      Lynn

    • Robert V Woerner on November 8, 2023 at 1:18 PM
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    I was diagnosed with stage two lung cancer in May 2023 and through the power of prayer and guidance from our Lord to my Doctors scheduling 3 seven hour chemo/ immunotherapy treatments before surgery. October 5th surgery was done to remove dead cancer cells. Pathologist reported cancer free. My oncologist called me a miracle man due to the fact that only 22% if lung cancer patients are cured. Only thru the power of prayer, praise Lord!

      • Lynn on November 8, 2023 at 2:53 PM
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      Dear Robert,
      That is wonderful news! You are indeed are very blessed and I’m so glad you give God the credit as I believe He works through doctors and medicine as well.
      Lynn

    • Paul Coletta on November 8, 2023 at 4:47 PM
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    Lynn, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer about a month ago and while it’s very treatable, it still was a big hit and difficult for me, always being healthy and all. I’m 74. Anyway, I found your book(s) to be so helpful to my soul. The Lord is definitely teaching me about myself and Himself. Sometimes I wish He didn’t prune me so hard but I ask Him for Trust in His will.
    I just want to express to you how glad I am that you cooperated with the Lord’s Grace to you and have become a cornucopia of God’s providence to so many people in need. May the Lord always bless you. Thanks.

      • Lynn on November 8, 2023 at 8:11 PM
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      Dear Paul,
      I totally understand what you mean about “pruning”! You know it’s for the best in the long run, but OUCH! Thank you so much for your kind words about my books and for taking time to let me know that the Lord is using them to encourage you on this unwanted journey. The Lord HAS blessed me more than I could ask or imagine.

      Blessings of His healing HOPE to you,
      Lynn

    • Nikki on November 9, 2023 at 5:22 PM
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    Hi Lynn,
    I was diagnosed in July with breast cancer. I’m 48 years old and I thought I wouldn’t have to deal won’t this until I’m older. I’m stage 1 but since her 2 is positive I have 12 weeks of chemo with a year of immunotherapy. I’ve finished When God and Cancer Meet and it was such a beautiful book. I really struggle with having peace with whatever happens and letting go of control!
    I wish there was a prayer support group in my area.. Thank you for all your inspiring words and stories.
    Nikki

      • Lynn on November 10, 2023 at 11:01 AM
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      Hi Nikki,
      Thanks so much for taking time to comment. It really stinks to have to deal with cancer at such a young age (I just turned 70 so 48 sounds REALLY young!). And thank you for your kind words regarding “When God & Cancer Meet.” I think most of us struggle with that same issue–in fact, my ladies Bible study is studying Jennifer Duke Lee’s excellent book “It’s All under Control.” (I picked it mainly for me!)

      I also written “Peace in the Face of Cancer” and “50 Days of Hope in case you want more encouraging truth to have on hand to fill your mind 🙂 There are used copies on Amazon which are quite reasonable.

      I don’t know where you live, but I do have a nationwide listing of faith-based cancer support groups on my website, including ones which meet virtually. Perhaps you can find something in your area or online to attend.

      Blessings of God’s perfect PEACE,
      Lynn

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