This past week, I had the wonderful opportunity to address about 600 members of the Women's Food Service Forum. In one of the interactive exercises, we all learned that a young women was a survivor of Stage 4 lung cancer. The audience spontaneously jumped to their feet and applauded. Later that night, I found Christy dancing with wild enthusiasm on a dance floor--an amazing feat for anyone with diminished lung capacity. Here is what she wrote to me: "Over the last 5 years I have had the pleasure to provide hope to so many people battling cancer. Hope can take you anywhere. When faced with a challenge, it’s all in how you look at it that will determine the outcome. Facing challenges head on can make such a difference. "And then she signed her email this way: Remain victorious, Christy Hope. That's precisely what is rebuilding the cities of Joplin, MO and Tuscaloosa, AL . One year ago, these towns were devastated when tornadoes ripped through, killing a total of 171 people. Read accounts now and you hear optimism, recovery, gratitude, and a chance to rebuild in smarter ways. Without hope none of this could be possible. I loved reading the words of Malachi Dubose, an 11 year-old who rode out the Alabama storm with his mother and five sibling as they huddled in a windowless bathroom. USA TODAY (April 30) stated that he spoke about life before, describing neighbors and garden and he also spoke about hope, "Out of despair and closed eyes, when the cameras left and the president flew away, without video games and television, out of tears and sleepless nights, and in the hands of my parents through faith in God…we are paving new streets."A cancer survivor and an 11 year-old from a tornado-ravaged town. Lessons surely for all of us.