Cancer. The dreaded “C” word has done a number on my heart over the past few weeks. There is a sweet little boy I know who doctors diagnosed with a type of terminal brain cancer. This adorable seven-year-old who should be filled with joy just by being a kid, has received a death sentence of a year or less to live. Another friend, who was diagnosed six months ago, quickly succumbed to the viciousness of the “c” word. She leaves behind a husband and two children.
How many countless people do you personally know affected by cancer? It is almost like “6 degrees of separation,” right? It hits too close for comfort. Maybe there’s a history of cancer that runs in your family? Maybe you were diagnosed as a kid, maybe you are in remission, maybe you are scared about what might happen if you get that lump checked out.
Could I encourage you to take a deep breath and then dare to take a stand? Cancer wants us to feel inferior. To cower in the corner instead of embracing the courage to fight this horrendous disease.
World Cancer Day is February 4. This is an opportunity to shine a light on becoming educated about the effects of various forms of the disease. “According to the World Health Organization(WHO), if the incidence of cancer continues to grow at the reported rate, the number of deaths worldwide from cancer will increase to more than 16.3 million by 2040. However, also according to WHO, as many as 40 percent of deaths from cancer are preventable.”
Please attend your regularly scheduled checkups / appointments with doctors. Please lean on someone for support, whether virtually or in person. Finding solace in another who shares the burden can help make this path a little more manageable. Get involved with 5ks, 10ks, half-marathons, and marathons that support raising money for cancer research or GoFundMe to help someone in need of assistance.
Start small. Listen to the important parts of someone’s story. Offer a listening ear or pray for those knee-deep in chemo or radiation. Create a comfort basket to assist patients in passing the time during their hospital admission or weekly appointments, as they sit endlessly in waiting rooms.
Talk to your local legislatures to see what more you can do to get involved to help eradicate this awful poisoning in everyday life. The more steps you can take to help learn and become an ally and advocate, the better our future will be in trying to find the cure for this illness.
Start with February 4, World Cancer Day, and encourage others to get educated about these pressing issues. You might just be the blessing someone has hoped for to help lighten the load.