It’s a scary word, made even more frightening when coming from the lips of your doctor. But the diagnosis is only the beginning. What follows are overwhelming statistics, painful surgeries, poisonous treatments, and a life changed forever. A person can do everything right in their life and a tumor shows up on a scan, forcing them to confront a terrifying new world of IVs and head scarves.
It’s rare to find someone who hasn’t lost someone from cancer. My grandmother bravely fought and conquered colon cancer, only to have it return ten years later, ultimately claiming her life. My healthy uncle succumbed to squamous cell carcinoma within a year of his diagnosis. Just two years ago, I attended my grandfather’s funeral on the same day as William and Kate’s royal wedding. I’ve lost two co-workers to various cancers in the five years since I’ve been at my job. After a while, it all makes you feel powerless.
But you’re not. There’s a lot that you can do to help.
For the Inspiration:
This post is inspired by Susie Lindau over at Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride.
Today, this fearless and brave woman underwent a successful double mastectomy after recently being diagnosed with breast cancer. She has courageously shared her story with her readers, deemed the Wild Riders, and I am amazed that she can still inject even the most terrifying situations with her unique brand of humor and awesomeness. Susie is a rock star in the blogging world—and not just because she’s been Freshly Pressed—and I encourage you all to check out why so many bloggers have banded together to offer their support as she goes through this. This one’s for you, Susie!
For the Action:
At the young age of twenty, my cousin faced non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was saved by a bone marrow transplant. I recently accompanied him to City of Hope‘s annual bone marrow transplant reunion. It was incredible to see hundreds of survivors from all walks of life coming together because of a shared past. The doctors and nurses were also there to lend their support and they greeted their former patients like old friends.
It made me want to help.
When my cousin was going through treatment, my aunt and uncle joined the bone marrow registry and encouraged the rest of the family to do so as well. After attending the transplant reunion, I signed up online for the National Marrow Donation Program at Be the Match. The website provides all the information about transplanting bone marrow and it couldn’t have been easier to join.
I submitted my personal information online and within two weeks, received my testing kit. A couple of cheek swabs later, my cells were sent to the lab and will hopefully be the match for someone in need. Should I be called to donate, I have the opportunity to change someone’s life. I can’t imagine not doing it.
*In a blessed turn of events, today my cousin accepted a position working for the hospital that saved his life. We couldn’t be more proud of him. Talk about giving back.
For the Body:
If donating bone marrow is not your thing and you prefer a more active approach, consider one of the many athletic events held all over the world to raise money for cancer causes. A quick check of your local paper or community’s website will undoubtedly reveal a 5K, half-marathon, marathon, bike race, or triathlon. There is literally an event for every type of cancer or memorial you can think of. I receive mail every year about joining half-marathon teams for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, even though the longest distance I’ve ever run without stopping is only about three miles. Though I’ve never participated in a running event, I have walked a breast cancer 5K in San Francisco and several laps in a local Relay for Life. Find an event and lace up your sneakers.
Together we can kick cancer’s ass.