Saturday, September 6, 2008


As I watched the Stand Up 2 Cancer special on television Friday night, I was amazed and saddened by the statistics. Here are just a few that I wrote down:

  • 4,000 cases of cancer diagnosed per day (165 per hour, 3 per minute)
  • 1 in 8 American Women are diagnosed with Breast Cancer in their lives
  • colon cancer is 90% curable if caught in an early stage
  • 1 in 6 men have prostate cancer
  • Cancer kills 1 person every minute
  • Between infancy and 15 years of age, cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among children in the United States.

Reading those statistics brought me to tears. Cancer is so widespread, I am sure just about everyone knows someone that is fighting cancer, survived cancer, or lost their battle with cancer. I know a few that have lost that fight, including a cousin, grandparent, and a close friend. I know my husband has had quite a few family members on his side, including an Aunt just this past year. He also lost a close friend to leukemia when he was in second grade. I also know a few breast cancer survivors and pray everyday that they stay that way and keep on surviving.

I lost a dear friend to cancer two years ago and that affected me so deeply. Besides being a close friend, I am not sure why it affected me so much. Maybe because he was my age? My brother also lost a close friend to cancer when he was in college, and I remember feeling so sad, as this was the first time I had known anyone that young who died. I kept thinking about how hard it would be to lose a child, even a grown child, to cancer (or any other disease for that matter).

I am especially touched by children who are stricken with this horrible disease. I have a hard enough time with adults having cancer, but when children are diagnosed it is so unbelievably heartbreaking. I hear about these children and I want so badly to do something, ANYTHING, to make their suffering go away.

For quite some time, I've wanted to volunteer at the local children's hospital and work with children that have cancer or other similar illnesses. I am not exactly sure what I could do to help, I just know that I really want to. Finding time to do this when I have young children (and now a new puppy) and a husband that commutes daily has been difficult, but I know that eventually I will find a way. I'd also like to go back to school and train to become a Child Life Specialist, which is a person who provides support and reduces stress for hospitalized children and their families. Working with children has always been something I've enjoyed, and helping kids in need is something I feel I am meant to do. I can't think of a better way to help these children then to provide comfort to them during a stressful time. I have a long road ahead of me with school, volunteering and taking (and passing) the child life exam but I am willing to devote whatever free time I have to achieve this goal.

Meanwhile, the best thing I know how to do, is to ask family, friends and even complete strangers to do what they can to be an advocate for cancer. If you can donate to a cancer organization, please do. Besides Stand up 2 Cancer, there are other great organizations out there, such as the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Walter Payton Cancer Fund, and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, just to name a few. I know there are also many local organizations that can use help. Volunteer your time working for these organizations - you can even be an advocate, as I am, and use email to reach out to others.

I have also participated a few times in Relay For Life and highly recommend that anyone who can, please take part sometime. Or try the Race for the Cure, Light the Night for Leukemia, Walter Payton Run, or one of many other great events happening around the country. Participating in those types of events is truly an amazing experience. When I did Relay for Life, I attended the Luminary ceremony, where luminaries representing cancer victims and survivors are lit all around a high school track. Every single one of those names are then read out loud and people walk around the track and pay tribute to those affected by cancer. The ceremony is always very moving and makes all of those cancer statistics you read about become a reality, not just numbers on paper.

Kiki, Boo and I walking during Relay for Life 2007

The medical field has made great strides over the years to fight this, and many other horrible diseases and I am confident they will continue to do so. As Christopher Reeve once said, "Once you choose hope, anything's possible." I choose to hope that one day during my lifetime there will be a cure. I am willing to fight to make that hope become a reality.

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