Friday, September 7, 2012

Stand Up 2 Cancer. Be Apart of the Cure.

I'm sitting here watching the Stand Up 2 Cancer fundraiser on TV and I hope I never stop being moved by the stories of these amazing fighters and survivors. It would be a really sad day for me if I watched someone's cancer story and didn't cry. I never want to become detached. I like that it moves me... I believe empathy makes us better people, better friends. And tonight I can't help but think about my own friends.

I have 7 friends under the age of 35 fighting stage 4 cancer. Of those 7, 4 have breast cancer, 1 has thyroid cancer, and 2 have colon cancer. And that is just those with stage 4. Many have stage 2, 3... brain tumors, sarcomas, lymphomas, etc. I watched my grandmother die of recurrent metastatic lung cancer, she watched both of her sisters die of colon cancer. One year after my grandmother passed, her dad, my great grandpa died of melanoma. Two of my cousins had colon cancer in their 30s, a third in his late 20s. Another cousin recently fought thyroid cancer. My mom has had basal cell carcinoma and I myself had colon cancer at 22. Even my husband is a Neuroblastoma survivor.

How is this?? I counted 91 people on my Facebook friends list that have had or currently have cancer. 91!!! And other than my family members, those are just people I have met over the past 4 years. I am amazed by the numbers, and not in a good way. How do we not have better treatments yet?? Or even a cure?? How is it that many treatments are the same as they were 40 years ago? Yes there has been progress but not nearly enough. It won't be enough until cancer is no longer seen as a fatal disease but just something you get and then take a little bit of medicine for and you're fine.

This reminds me why I am shoving my face in a molecular biology book right now trying to study my butt off for my exam this coming Wednesday. The other day I asked myself why in the world I was choosing to put myself through more stress of school, but this is why. For my friends. For my family. For the millions of people I don't know. For my husband. For myself. There has to be a cure. There has to be. Someone just has to find it. And I plan to spend the rest of my life looking.

Find a way to be apart of the cure. Donate, become a researcher, join/ participate in a clinical trial (if it's the best option for you of course), or raise awareness.

For my friends fighting... know that every morning I think of you and you are the reason I keep going. You have all made me a better person and I will always love you for that.

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"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting..... 'WHAT A RIDE!'"